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Multi-lab Survey Led By Sandia Finds Cybersecurity Flaws in EV Charging

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A team of researchers led by Sandia National Laboratories found various vulnerabilities in electric vehicle charging that could be exploited by hackers and other cyber threats.

Sandia said Tuesday that it collaborated with national laboratories including Argonne, Idaho, Pacific Northwest and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to conduct the four-year survey.

Security flaws in EV charging ranged from simple credit card hacking during payments to possible interference in grid operations, according to the survey. It showed that not all EV chargers are equipped with firewalls to protect users’ private information and reflected that some of them were easy to corrupt with malicious firmware updates.

To address the weaknesses, the team published recommended solutions such as employing plug-and-charge public key infrastructure to enhance EV owner authentication. They also created a best practices document and started developing a platform that uses cyber-physical data to shield EV charging infrastructure from attacks.

“By conducting this survey … we can prioritize recommendations to policymakers and notify them of what security improvements are needed by the industry,” said Jay Johnson, electrical engineer at Sandia and one of the study’s researchers. He stated that organization hopes the review encourages states to tighten their implementation of physical and virtual security strategies, and “help the federal government standardize best practices and mandate minimum security levels for electric vehicle chargers in the future.”