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Hackers!! The emerging threat to EV charging stations.

Introduction:

Hackers are the next-gen Nukes for warfare. The complete digitization of industries from Agriculture to digital tech revolution has been a boon for society but it came at the cost of cyber threat. To expand their influence hackers have now started targeting the emerging industry of automobile i.e. electric vehicles and charging stations

Charging stations are the backbone of the electric vehicles industry, as range anxiety is resulting in many people’s excuses for not switching to electric mobility. That’s why even a small resistance to users switching into electric mobility will lead to delays in reducing carbon footprints. Global warming is the snake that’s approaching us faster and faster towards us and will not show any mercy in taking us down. So it isn’t just important but crucial to adopt a cleaner method of transportation.

 This article will discuss a few cases of Hacking EV charging stations globally, understand the intensity of danger, and how this can be prevented.

History of EV hacking:

You won’t believe me but the first ever EV hacking was done intentionally by the manufacturers themselves, in fact, the EV hacking has always been one of the testing parameters of electric vehicle companies. Such hacking is white-hat hacking and the person who does this is known as a white-hat hacker, and these guys/girls are a very important part of any EV-making company as they would test and judge the security system.

Especially when it comes to autonomous electric cars like Tesla or Xiaomi’s upcoming electric car, hacking is one of the most crucial problems that one such EV would face as a black hat hacker would easily gain control of a plugged-in autonomous car and it will be a hell running on 4 wheels.

Now coming back to the history of EV hacking, in 2021 the black-hat EV charging station hacking came into notice in bulk. Many EV charging station operators in England report that Hackers demand money in return for gaining back control over their own charging stations.

Impact of Hacking EV charging station:

Imagine you are enjoying a silent ride towards a wonderful location on your electric fleet and you are driving with no range anxiety, as you know you have a vacant EV charging slot. Your EV battery is drained and as you plug in your electric car, it isn’t charging!!!!! All the features are fully functional but you couldn’t charge your EV and you were left with no option but to wait for the service person or even worse the charging station owner refuse to take any action, isn’t horrible?

In some instances, people after leaving their electric car for charging, hackers break into the charging station control and because the charging point is actively communicating with the car they mess with the vehicle by taking over its control. However, no such case has been reported yet but there’s a high possibility because this isn’t impossible.

If such EV hacking cases amplify in the future, it’ll bring the whole EV industry a huge setback. The EV industry is fairly new and already facing many challenges, and right now even a small resistance for EV \buyers would bring them into a state of doubt for opting electric vehicles.

Intentions of black-hat EV hacker:

At this point, you must be assuming that hackers are doing this just for a sum of money, well yes, but that’s not entirely true, and believe me the actual intentions are far more horrible than this. Let’s first identify the demographics of the people hacking into your e-vehicles. It’s reported most of the attacks are from foreign countries and especially from communist countries like China, Russia, etc. and along with just money their major point of interest for hacking is stealing data and spreading communal propaganda, for example, in Russia during the war between Ukraine and Russia many charging stations were hacked and displaying pro-Ukrainian slogans that oppose the war and spreading dark side of Russia.

That’s the reason I said “Hackers are Nukes of Modern day warfare” can you imagine how a charging station is enough for spreading communal riots and misinformation!

Today’s situation:

For now due to very less global EV penetration hacking into charging stations is neither too profitable nor too effective to cause any solid impact. That’s why you’ll hardly find any effective damage caused by hacking charging stations, just some pit-pot here like, displaying porn, pulling pranks, disabling charging ports, etc. but nothing much solid.

But it is a very serious emerging issue, if we really want to improve electric vehicle penetration then securing the EV eco-system must be one of our core interests.

EV hacking preventions:

A normal EV user can’t really do anything much about it but at a manufacturing level, charging station makers and electric vehicle makers should improve the security level of the end products they are making.

Conclusion:

EV hacking is not really a great thing to worry about just for now but in the future, as the EV penetration level increases globally hacking can cause unimaginable damage at the societal level. However, India hasn’t seen even a single case of EV hacking but western countries like the UK have reported such issues. We firmly need to improve our Ev’s cyber security, or get future will be dark of electric vehicles.

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