ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – As more car makers move towards electric models, Sandia National Labs (SNL) is voicing some cyber-security concerns when it comes to charging these vehicles. “We identified several different areas where there were potential risks,” said Jay Johnson, a cyber-security researcher for SNL.
According to Sandia National Labs, more than 667,000 electric cars were sold in the United States last year. “We have been seeing a massive upswing in public electric vehicle chargers,” said Johnson. Right now, there are about 47,000 public charging ports nationwide, which Sandia Labs says comes with concerns.”
“A wide range of different vulnerabilities [are] associated with these devices,” said Johnson.
For the past four years, Johnson has been looking into the risks people can take each time they plug in and, along with his partners recently released their findings. “Most of the chargers or the public chargers have cellular networks,” said Johnson.
Just like how scammers can steal information at the pump, Johnson says they can also break into charging ports, public and personal. “There are in certain cases, unsecured ports on these devices where you can extract personal identifiable information,” said Johnson.
Johnson says, “criminals can even hijack an entire EV charging network. Right now, there is no universal fix for the problem. There are some steps drivers can take to protect themselves just like when it comes to credit card skimmers.”
“Certainly for public interfaces, to protect those RFID cards because those are connected to your billing information,” said Johnson. “You just need to be aware, you need to be aware people could potentially track you or your driving behaviors.”
Johnson says, thankfully, because everything is electronic, a fix would just be a quick update away.”Fortunately, most of these devices out there have the ability to be patched, or they can do a live firmware update,” said Johnson.
Johnson and his team are now working with Idaho and Pacific Northwest national labs to develop a data system to keep criminals from impacting EV charging infrastructure.