Overview

As the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) accelerates, so do the risks associated with their charging infrastructure. In this article, we explore the cybersecurity challenges faced by EV charging stations in the UK and Europe, emphasizing the implications of the EU Cybersecurity Act and the need for robust security measures.

The Growing Popularity of EVs and Charging Stations

The transition from traditional combustion-engine vehicles to EVs is well underway. In Europe, the market for EVs is expanding rapidly, with predictions that 50% of global passenger vehicle sales will be electric by 2033. As EVs become more commonplace, so do the charging stations that power them.

Cybersecurity Risks to EV Charging Stations

Charging stations are vulnerable to a range of cybersecurity threats. These include:

  1. Unprotected Internet Connectivity: Many charging stations are connected to the internet, making them potential targets for cyberattacks.
  2. Insufficient Authentication and Encryption: Weak security measures can expose charging stations to unauthorized access.
  3. Absence of Network Segmentation: Without proper segmentation, an attack on one station could impact others.
  4. Unmanaged Energy Assets: Lack of oversight can lead to vulnerabilities in the energy grid.
  5. Data Theft: Charging stations store personal and payment information, making them attractive targets for hackers.

Tighter Regulations

UK Industry Requirements For Security Of EVCS:

The UK government’s publication on regulations for electric vehicle (EV) smart charge points outlines the primary guidance in this area. Schedule 1 of this document details key security elements within this framework. These security elements are themselves largely based on the ETSI EN 303 645 standard.

EU Cybersecurity Act and Its Implications:

The EU Cybersecurity Act, and its related sub derivative the Cyber Resilience Act (CRA), will have a significant effect on the security situation of EV charging station (EVCS) providers in Europe. The acts aim to improve the security of digital products and services and set up the “European Cybersecurity Certification Scheme.” This scheme, which will start in January 2024, will probably require formal 3rd party certification for all EVCS service providers in the region. Compliance with the Cyber Resilience Act is likely to be essential for EV charging stations, as it will requires more rigorous reporting of breaches and imposes higher fines for non-compliance. This means an extra challenge for EVCS providers, but ultimately enhances the overall security level of Europe’s EV charging infrastructure.

Other Risk Areas

Electricity Distribution Network Risks:

Compromised charging stations could disrupt the electricity distribution network. Attackers gaining control of a charging point could cause power imbalances, affecting supply and demand.

Electricity Supply Network Operators (ESNOs):

ESNOs remotely manage charging stations across Europe. If their infrastructure is compromised, attackers could switch charging stations on and off, potentially causing power outages.

Charging-Point Customer Account Fraud:

Charging networks lacking proper cybersecurity standards are susceptible to customer account fraud. Stolen credentials could lead to unauthorized charging sessions and financial losses.

Furthermore

As EVs become integral to our transportation system, securing their charging infrastructure is paramount. Providers must treat charging stations as critical infrastructure, implementing robust security protocols. Anonymizing data, ensuring strong authentication, and regular vulnerability assessments are essential steps.

In light of recent incidents, such as the hacking of Russia’s EV charging network, the urgency to address these risks cannot be overstated. Let us prioritize cybersecurity to ensure a safe and reliable EV charging ecosystem in the UK and Europe. For more information, you can also refer to the content in this Express article.

How CyberSolace Can Help EVCS Service Providers

Third-Party Risk Reviews:

CyberSolace does careful evaluations of third-party vendors and partners that are part of the EV charging ecosystem. These reviews check their cybersecurity practices, weaknesses, and compliance with industry standards. By finding out possible risks, CyberSolace helps charging operators choose partners wisely.

Pre-deployment Checks:

CyberSolace conducts detailed pre-installation inspections before setting up new charging stations. These assessments include physical security, network design, and software settings. By fixing vulnerabilities early in the setup process, CyberSolace reduces the chance of cyber incidents.

Ongoing Maturity Assessments:

CyberSolace provides ongoing monitoring and maintenance services for EV charging networks. Frequent vulnerability scans, patch management, and system updates are crucial to avoid security gaps. Also, maturity assessments measure the performance of current security controls and suggest enhancements.

Complete Program Approach:

CyberSolace understands that cybersecurity is not a one-off task. Instead, it supports a complete approach:

  • Assessment: Start with a thorough risk assessment to know the present state of security throughout the charging infrastructure.
  • Implementation: Based on the assessment results, put in place needed security measures, such as encryption and access controls.
  • Monitoring: Constantly monitor the charging stations for unusual activity, unauthorized access, and potential threats.
  • Response: Create incident response plans and do tabletop exercises to get ready for cyber incidents.
  • Education: Teach charging network operators and staff on best practices, highlighting the importance of cybersecurity hygiene.