“Who can hack a power plug?”, the info security risks in electric cars charging

charge-stationThis research presents a case study of IoT security. Deviating from the usual suspects, it focuses on an emerging IoT node: a public electric car charging station. Since electric car batteries are limited in capacity and since charging takes time, such curb side power plugs are essential to enable the electric cars revolution.

Such charging stations need to authenticate the customer, using smart cards for example, handle payments, communicate to the driver, on his phone, the charge status and in the future balance power demand in the locality of the charging station. As a result, this is very much a smart power plug: essentially a computer lying there on the curb side.

The presentation introduces electric car charging stations and then discusses and brings example of key potential vulnerability areas:

  • Physical access
  • Short range communications
  • Encryption
  • Connectivity to central networks and the Internet
  • The human factor.

The work was presented in Hack In The Box Amsterdam in 2013:

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