Belfast based cyber security specialist ANGOKA says developers of the UK’s fast-growing network of electric vehicle charging points could be sleep-walking into a high-risk vulnerability to hacking and cyber-attacks.
Significant and rapid growth in the number of electric vehicle charging points is expected in the next three years. There are estimated to be more than 100,000 petrol and diesel pumps across the UK while the number of EV charging points( home and Public) stands at over 350,000 and counting. While the growth in public charging points will grow exponentially, the risk of hacking, disabling and even weaponizing these has become an increasingly recognized problem.
Richard Barrington, ANGOKA’s head of land mobility says the race to decarbonize and the shift to electrification goes hand in hand with digitization.
“We need to electrify our economy but we have not fully understood the need for cyber security in this transition,” says Mr Barrington.
“While data protection through encryption is in place to prevent the theft of financial information through credit cards and electronic payment forms, the cyber security of the actual charging points should be at the top of the agenda,” he says.
Because EV charging points are all networked, the risk goes beyond theft of financial information or abstracting electricity. ANGOKA says the potential to engineer an attack back onto the national grid or spoof charging indicators allowing batteries to be over or undercharged means the industry must adopt the Zero Trust principles of Never Trust, Always Verify!
“The threat landscape becomes even more extensive when you consider the bi-directional data exchange between vehicle and charging point,” says Mr Barrington, “this data exchange can be unprotected and vulnerable meaning hijacking, the introduction of malware and denial of service attacks become probable.
ANGOKA says the responsibility of providing the cyber security to protect these from attack has fallen between the players in the supply chain, Manufacturers, Installers, operators and procurers e.g. local authorities.
New regulations coming into force next year creates a more open market in that anyone should be able to use any charging point irrespective of the operator. Unfortunately greater levels of interconnectivity will lead to a widening of the threat landscape and risk potentially at national scale. Mr Barrington. “We believe there is an approach that can address these concerns and the EV charging sector and the motor industry must step up and take action.”
Representatives from the automotive sectors are due to meet ANGOKA representatives in Belfast in the coming weeks in anticipation of new EV charging point regulations to be introduced next summer.