New Hack Attack Disrupts Charging of Electric Vehicles

A collection of academics from the University of Oxford and Armasuisse S+T recently revealed a novel attack technique against the popular Combined Charging System (CCS) which has the potential to disrupt the ability to charge electric vehicles.

Referred to as ‘Brokenwire’, the technique intermeddles with the control communications that occur between the vehicle and charger to wirelessly halt the charging sessions from a distance of as far as 151ft.

‘While it may only be an inconvenience for individuals, interrupting the charging process of critical vehicles, such as electric ambulances, can have life-threatening consequences,’ the researchers explained.

‘Brokenwire has immediate implications for many of the 12 million battery EVs estimated to be on the roads worldwide— and profound effects on the new wave of electrification for vehicle fleets, both for private enterprise and for crucial public services.’

In-depth details of the modus operandi of the attack has been kept secret in order to prevent exploitation while the relevant individuals and organizations work on appropriate countermeasures.

Combined Charging System refers to a kind of connector used for rapid-charging electric vehicles. Brokenwire targets this technology with the transmission of a malignant electromagnetic signal which causes the charging process to stop.

The researchers noted that the hack-attack can be carried out with a variety of common components like power amplifiers, dipole antenna, and a software-defined radio. It can be executed personally from a nearby location, or stationing a device at the target site and controlling it remotely.

‘The use of PLC (Power-Line Communications) for charging communication is a serious design flaw that leaves millions of vehicles, some of which belong to critical infrastructure, vulnerable’, said the researchers.

By Marvellous Iwendi.

Source: The Hacker News