The Security of U.S. Electric Vehicle Charging: A Continuing Effort

The growing number of electric vehicles (EVs) on US roads has highlighted a security concern: public and home charging stations are vulnerable to cyberattacks as they use outdated communication protocols. These systems are susceptible to man-in-the-middle attacks, in which a cyber criminal penetrates a digital communication network with the aim of stealing valuable data. Nicholas Abi-Samra, a professor of engineering at the University of California, San Diego, is calling for a national plan to identify the vulnerabilities in the country’s charging infrastructure, conduct security assessments, set a baseline for future measures, and implement public-private partnerships, funding, incentives and regulations that promote infrastructure security.
The US currently relies on a patchwork system of state and municipal regulatory bodies, adding layer of difficulty to their efforts. Additionally, many home charging stations are outdated, leaving them open to attacks that could extend beyond the theft of electricity to the potential damage of user data. The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration has issued new standards that will enable universal charging using better cryptographic protocols, but many analysts argue that more will be needed to ensure protection.