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Cybersecurity Experts Raise Concerns Over Cybersecurity of Electric Car Chargers

Cybersecurity experts at the Sandia National Labs, after publishing their research are now acknowledging that there is more safeguard which is needed to be put in place. The reason being if the chargers are compromised, the consequences could be more than just credit card data being stolen.

There are numerous electric car charging stations all across Albuquerque, including some that are free downtown, from BioPark to Walmart. Most electric car drivers do not give a second thought while plugging in their cars, especially when it comes to cybersecurity.

“I haven’t given it much additional thought when it comes to additional protect or encryption,” says Joseph Griego, an electric vehicle driver.

But Sandia National Labs’ researchers have discovered some major issues regarding the security of these charging stations.

Jay Johnson, a cybersecurity researcher at Sandia National Labs Cybersecurity says “There are things like insecure firmware update processes, there are challenges with local web interfaces and vulnerabilities that exist in those. You can see some of these devises have Wi-Fi access points that allow you to connect with your smart phone and configure the charger to do certain things.”

While the U.S. did not face any major cyberattack, hackers overseas have taken down several charging grids.

“An interesting example of this is there is an M11 motorway that ran from St. Petersburg to Moscow, and during the start of the conflict with Russia and Ukraine there were Ukrainian parts inside these electric vehicle chargers on this Russian motorway, and the Ukrainians were able to disable those chargers and display anti-Putin, pro-Ukraine messages on them,” says Johnson.

While other hackers could get hold of passwords and credit card information, some are also capable of turning off a whole bunch of chargers at once sending shock waves throughout the power grids.

“The power grid operates where you need to provide a certain amount of generation to meet load, so if that load is suddenly disconnecting EV chargers all at the same time that changes significantly, and your generation needs to rapidly readjust, or you will have swings in frequency on the power grid,” he continued.

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