ORIGINAL REPORTING: Strategies To Protect Against Power System Hack Attacks
Porn and Putin-focused hacks of charging stations drive new cybersecurity steps for an EV boom; Emerging tools and strategies are focused on patching utility, charger and power system cyber vulnerabilities, analysts said.
Herman K. Trabish, November 8, 2022 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: Cybersecurity continues to be a threat, as the recent shutdown of most of Italy demonstrated.
The ongoing expansion of the U.S. electric vehicle ecosystem is creating new cybersecurity risks for the nation’s power system by offering hackers access through widely distributed and less well-protected charging stations, but solutions are emerging, charger software providers and researchers said.
Recent hacks using Russian charging stations to ridicule Vladimir Putin and British chargers to play adults-only content show cyber threats are real, public and private sector analysts said. Accessing customer personal or financial data has been demonstrated, and an EV boom driven by proliferating transportation electrification policy goals could spread threats across the power system, they added.
With a Biden Administration goal of 50% of new car sales to be zero emissions by 2035 and funding for a national EV charging network, U.S. transportation electrification“is accelerating at a breakneck speed,” said Joseph Vellone, North America head for international charger software provider ev.energy. Innovative utility-managed charging programs could allow “an attacker with malicious intent to destabilize the power system,” he said.
“Permissive access to chargers was adequate for traditional power systems,” but “vehicle-grid integration” to manage charging “adds orders of magnitude of operational complexity,” added Duncan Greatwood, CEO of cybersecurity specialist Xage. Vulnerability is significant because “cybersecurity strategies were only introduced into the energy sector in the last 18 months,” he said.
EVs, now about 1% of the 250 million U.S. light-duty vehicles, rose to 6.1% of new U.S. vehicle sales in Q3 2022 from 3.7% in Q3 2021, Clean Technica reported September 13. By 2030, they could be 52% of new car sales, according to a BloombergNEF estimate reported September 20. And vulnerabilities will increase with that rapid EV ecosystem expansion across the power system’s attack surface, cybersecurity specialists agreed.
Those vulnerabilities threaten more serious impacts than ridiculing Putin or randomly showing adult content, power industry, private cybersecurity providers, and cybersecurity research leaders said. An October 25 Office of the National Cyber Director-led forum recognized that new answers for EV ecosystem cybersecurity are needed. But stopping Black Hat attackers with financial or worse motives who seem always a step ahead will be challenging, those leaders acknowledged… click here for more
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