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Hackers Could Abuse Electric Car Chargers To Cripple the Grid, Researchers Say

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the everybody-panic dept.

Security 126

alphadogg writes "Hackers could use vulnerable charging stations to prevent the charging of electric vehicles in a certain area, or possibly even use the vulnerabilities to cripple parts of the electricity grid, a security researcher said during the Hack in the Box conference in Amsterdam on Thursday. While electric cars and EV charging systems are still in their infancy, they could become a more common way to travel within the next 10 years. If that happens, it is important that the charging systems popping up in cities around the world are secure in order to prevent attackers from accessing and tempering with them, said Ofer Shezaf, of HP ArcSight. At the moment, they are not secure at all, he said."

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Fuses... (4, Funny)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#43430743)

I've just applied for a patent on a device I call a "fuse". You can put arrays of them in a thing I call a "fuse box". They prevent too much current from passing along a wire.

Re:Fuses... (4, Funny)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | about a year and a half ago | (#43430791)

Is it web-enabled, cloud and smart? No? Then you ain't got nothing these days.

Re:Fuses... (2)

geekmux (1040042) | about a year and a half ago | (#43430829)

Is it web-enabled, cloud and smart? No? Then you ain't got nothing these days.

Yeah, you're right. All I'm left with is a lonely old-fashioned fuse box. So boring, yet so secure...

Re:Fuses... (1)

davester666 (731373) | about a year and a half ago | (#43433413)

It's worthless until you can turn any/all of these fuses on or off remotely from a smartphone or a website.

Re:Fuses... (4, Funny)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#43430851)

Is it web-enabled, cloud and smart? No? Then you ain't got nothing these days.

I've got a contact in Shenzhen who promises me they can provide a cloud-enabled controller for my fuse boxes at very good price.

Re:Fuses... (3, Funny)

lxs (131946) | about a year and a half ago | (#43430953)

ZOMG power surge! #hardwork #itstoughbeingafuse

Re:Fuses... (0, Troll)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#43430855)

No, but it will keep unions working so it has the full support of the Democrats. Now if he can get rid of the tactical fuses by removing the pistol grip and collapsable stock we can get the rest of them on board.

Re:Fuses... (4, Funny)

Kilo Kilo (2837521) | about a year and a half ago | (#43430963)

How big are these "fuses"? Can a child choke on them? Yes? Well then, we're going to need to strictly regulate the sale and use of "fuses." And these "fuse boxes" are an important target for terrorists, so this will obviously fall under the DHS.

What's that? No, I actually haven't seen a "fuse" in person, but I understand they have something to do with computers and the "world wide web."

Re:Fuses... (3, Funny)

Phase Shifter (70817) | about a year and a half ago | (#43431011)

." And these "fuse boxes" are an important target for terrorists, so this will obviously fall under the DHS

Fuses are an essential component of bombmaking, so anyone who buys or sells them will be placed on the no-fly list.

Re:Fuses... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43431217)

You misspelt fuze.

Re:Fuses... (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | about a year and a half ago | (#43432511)

Fuses are also used by hackers and pirates!
We need an immediate ban on Fuses.

Re:Fuses... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43431665)

No, but it will keep middle class people working so it has the full support of the Democrats and opposition from the Republicans.

FTFY

Re:Fuses... (1)

Agent0013 (828350) | about a year and a half ago | (#43431789)

What about a fuse. . . on the web? Or with a cell phone? Aren't those the key words used to patent any old thing as new again?

Re:Fuses... (4, Funny)

isorox (205688) | about a year and a half ago | (#43430897)

I've just applied for a patent on a device I call a "fuse". You can put arrays of them in a thing I call a "fuse box". They prevent too much current from passing along a wire.

Can you sell them to the crew of the Enterprise? The number of exploding consoles they have...

Re:Fuses... (4, Funny)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about a year and a half ago | (#43431003)

Unfortunately, the Treaty of Algeron prohibits the Federation from researching certain technology, including cloaking devices and fuses.

Re:Fuses... (4, Funny)

OzPeter (195038) | about a year and a half ago | (#43431091)

Unfortunately, the Treaty of Algeron prohibits the Federation from researching certain technology, including cloaking devices and fuses.

More disclosure is needed here .. that treaty also forbids seat belts.

Re:Fuses... (4, Funny)

dj245 (732906) | about a year and a half ago | (#43431683)

Unfortunately, the Treaty of Algeron prohibits the Federation from researching certain technology, including cloaking devices and fuses.

More disclosure is needed here .. that treaty also forbids seat belts.

Seat Belts are a hazard when you need to get away from a console which will explode imminently.

Re:Fuses... (2)

mysidia (191772) | about a year and a half ago | (#43431037)

Can you sell them to the crew of the Enterprise? The number of exploding consoles they have...

The consoles are exploding, when they're at red alert, so they have engaged the battle short, or bypass of circuit protection, to maintain the availability of critical control systems in spite of battle damage, during the lifethreatening situation. :)

Re:Fuses... (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about a year and a half ago | (#43431225)

They're not very useful for controlling critical systems if they constantly get blown up, are they?

Re:Fuses... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43431249)

Well, yes, but how else could you reroute power to the main deflector dish and emit a tachyon burst?

Spare parts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43431061)

I've just applied for a patent on a device I call a "fuse". You can put arrays of them in a thing I call a "fuse box". They prevent too much current from passing along a wire.

Can you sell them to the crew of the Enterprise? The number of exploding consoles they have...

It's little known fact that everyone and all systems are just on one deck. That's why when you you see the Enterprise, you just see a few rooms. Only the senior officers have quarters - everyone else sleeps on racks in one big room that would make a 18th Century British frigate look like a luxury liner of today - first class.

The rest of the ship is for spare parts.

Re:Fuses... (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#43431283)

Can you sell them to the crew of the Enterprise? The number of exploding consoles they have...

That smoke you see is the fuse doing its job correctly. How else could they repair them in time for next week's show?

Re:Fuses... (1)

flyneye (84093) | about a year and a half ago | (#43430967)

A modification to your fuse could solve the problem politically rather than electronically. Place the first hacker they catch, in line behind the fuse in the circuit. Leave him there til you can smell bacon, post to youtube. Repeat as needed.

Re:Fuses... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43430979)

I've just applied for a patent on a device I call a "fuse". You can put arrays of them in a thing I call a "fuse box". They prevent too much current from passing along a wire.

CURSES why do people keep stealing my ideas!

Re:Fuses... for mobile devices (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43431341)

This is good to know. I also just applied for a patent on a device I call a "fuse" for mobile devices. Expect to hear from my lawyers soon.

Re:Fuses... for mobile devices (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | about a year and a half ago | (#43432525)

I already have a patent on "Fuses" used in computers.
Your "Mobile Device" seems to just be a small version of a computer.
Pay Me.

Re:Fuses... (5, Insightful)

LoRdTAW (99712) | about a year and a half ago | (#43431539)

Seriously. If this clown thinks that switching on multiple charging stations at once can cripple a grid he needs a course in basic electric system installation. This guy is just hyping up a non existent problem and turning it into "OMG terrorist hackers will cripple our country!" FUD. Its silly attention seeking.

Example:
If you had 10 chargers in a parking lot, each charger would have its own internal circuit breaker and the entire branch circuit that powers them all also must have a circuit breaker. Lets say the branch circuit can only support a maximum of 5 chargers at full power or a mix of low/high charge levels for all 10. If some "hacker" turned them all on at once guess what happens? The branch circuit breaker trips, problem solved. Even if there were 100 chargers, a breaker will trip and again problem solved.

Re:Fuses... (2)

Frontier Owner (2616587) | about a year and a half ago | (#43433209)

Seriously. If this clown thinks that switching on multiple charging stations at once can cripple a grid he needs a course in basic electric system installation. This guy is just hyping up a non existent problem and turning it into "OMG terrorist hackers will cripple our country!" FUD. Its silly attention seeking.

Example: If you had 10 chargers in a parking lot, each charger would have its own internal circuit breaker and the entire branch circuit that powers them all also must have a circuit breaker. Lets say the branch circuit can only support a maximum of 5 chargers at full power or a mix of low/high charge levels for all 10. If some "hacker" turned them all on at once guess what happens? The branch circuit breaker trips, problem solved. Even if there were 100 chargers, a breaker will trip and again problem solved.

its possible.

We blow up a transformer somewhere in the neighborhood atleast once a summer. LA went thru rolling blackouts the last few years.

Take system that is pushed to the max, everyone gets home at 1730hr and plugs in their car, BOOM. your in the dark till about 2000 hr waiting on the power company to go change a transformer. larger cities, better planned neighborhoods have multiple feeds and larger transformers.

one thing I do think he missed is ohms law. sure, you can turn one on or off remotely, but turning one on while not plugged in doesn't draw much power. Just enough to run the circuitry. not enough to blow the grid up.

Re:Fuses... (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year and a half ago | (#43432735)

I've got an even better idea! We could take two different metals, and mate them together, and press them against another contact. Kind of like a spring. If you machine the strip right, if it gets too hot it will flex away and break circuit contact! For extra safety, you could even design a catch system so that it can't automatically re-engage when it cools back down.

Now I just need to come up for a good name for these things.

Re:Fuses... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43433623)

Also, there seem to be a device used commonly in energy grids called a "transformer station". I have a patent that will remove these attack vectors completely from the scenario and start running all electrical devices at 600kV thus reducing these blatant weaknesses from the existing system.

(really, charging stations a weakness? Maybe they should look into how the grid is constructed before trying to cause (a revenue generating) panic)

Ill-tempered charger tackles electric grid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43430755)

Editors astonished.

Negative Astroturfing with spurious facts (2)

rmdingler (1955220) | about a year and a half ago | (#43431075)

Readers not astonished.

Stop the FUD (4, Insightful)

wbr1 (2538558) | about a year and a half ago | (#43430761)

A hacker could just as concievably shut down the computer or payment system in a traditional gas station rendering it useless. Or disrupt the credit authentication system. Or a terrorist could bomb them.
Just because its an EV does not make it or its infrastructure any more or less succeptible to an attack of some kind. To say otherwise just discourages people from looking at it as an alternative and is FUD.

Re:Stop the FUD (5, Insightful)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about a year and a half ago | (#43430801)

Apparently there's adequate security on computers at gas stations and credit card companies. The point is that EV charging points do not have adequate protection, making them an obvious target. The same concern was voiced about smart meters / smart appliances, and experts claim that by switching a great many high power equipment (EV chargers, dryers, solar panel inverters) on and off in a certain coordinated way, one can seriously mess up the grid.

Re:Stop the FUD (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#43430861)

Mostly because they all have cablemodems on them and use telnet with a root password of 12345

"not secure" as in they dont have a armed guard near them? they are as secure as a power substation that if you simply start shooting out insulators can cause a LOT more problems with the electrical grid than 10 car charging stations could.

Re:Stop the FUD (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#43430907)

Why have a "smart charger" at a service station? That would probably be always on due to the high demand and fast charge times required. I think what they're talking about is individual chargers in homes and businesses. You'd plug it in overnight and take advantage of relatively cheap night power.

Let's say in the US that a few hundred million of such chargers in a "smart grid" decided to pull current at the same time, that would probably trigger most current restricting safeties on the entire national grid.

A smart foe might even figure out how to worsen it by destroying hard to replace grid equipment or depleting consumables (like fuses). If you suddenly need an order of magnitude more high voltage transformers than are made worldwide in a year, that's going to suck, especially given how dependent your transportation infrastructure is due to the initial conditions of the scenario.

Re:Stop the FUD (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43431007)

"A few hundred million of such chargers"??? Wake me when there ARE a few hundred million EV smart chargers in the US. Once I get done celebrating I'll help you secure them.

A large portion of EVs (including my Leaf) are recharged today using nothing more sophisticated than the brick that came with the car and a 120v outlet in the owner's garage.

Re:Stop the FUD (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about a year and a half ago | (#43431251)

If you're worried about running out of fuses, use circuit breakers wherever it's feasible

Re:Stop the FUD (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#43431299)

Smart Charger.... you keep using that word.. I dont think it means what you think it means.

"smart chargers" dont connect to the internet and then a global system for management. Smart charger means it knows how to stop charging and switch charging modes based on load draw and voltage spikes as well as feedback from the battery. If you think they put in an internect connection to every single "smart charger" I stringly suggest you actually read up on the subject.

Re:Stop the FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43431113)

Yes, you can damage one station with a bunch of tin foil. However, to attack a significant fraction of the grid, you need coordinated action, which involves lots of people driving or flying or walking. Being able to accomplish the same thing without traveling makes the risk much higher.

Re:Stop the FUD (2)

Nadaka (224565) | about a year and a half ago | (#43431103)

As someone who worked at a gas station in college while I was getting my cs degree? Your "insightful" mod is not appropriate. Their computers have abysmal security.

Re:Stop the FUD (1)

lorenlal (164133) | about a year and a half ago | (#43431479)

So, for the sake of argument, let's assume those computers are "secure enough." Let's also assume that these new fangled fuses, or whatever, are installed, and we have a dead-simple meter for measuring how much electricity is actually being used.

I'm wondering what the impact would be if someone did indeed try to compromise the station. Is it unreasonable to think the station (or pump) would be affected, hopefully by being shut off? Let's compare that to a gas station and a match.... Much bigger impact. I think this article is cute in that, yes we do need to be aware of challenges of having a new fueling infrastructure. I'm of the opinion that hacking the whole grid through one of these chargers would require way more stupidity on the part of infrastructure designers than reasonably expected. Wait, I think I just answered the question above...

Anti-green FUD from the usual sources. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43431567)

Apparently there's adequate security on computers at gas stations and credit card companies.

If by "adequate" you mean "no", well then yes. I managed three gas stations for two years and I can tell you the "security" is entirely composed of humans earning close to minimum wage. Most of them are stoned part of the day.

The point is that EV charging points do not have adequate protection, making them an obvious target

How exactly do you expect me to provide more "protection" to my charging point (which is in my garage) than I already have? You'd have to break a door down and flip a physical switch for starters. Even the Internet-connected public charging stations are too stupid for major exploits; you can do more damage exploiting HP laserjets in power plants (true fact).

The same concern was voiced about smart meters / smart appliances, and experts claim that by switching a great many high power equipment (EV chargers, dryers, solar panel inverters) on and off in a certain coordinated way, one can seriously mess up the grid.

Movie plot, not reality.

Here in reality, the SAE J1772 EV connector is hard-wired for current limitation. It's not programmable. And the grid's regulated and fused, and EV chargers are not "high power equipment" compared to the stuff in any machine shop, car wash, laundromat, or even the electric water heaters on one city block (and for more than 20 years the power company in my area has offered discounts to people who allow their water heaters to be fitted with remote controls [wikipedia.org] ).

The closest you could get to this ridiculous FUD is if you hacked the cars themselves, not the chargers. But of course modern gas and diesel cars are just as hackable, so that won't be mentioned.

Hey, but what do I know, I'm just some guy with actual real-world experience, not a fear-mongering "researcher" with a political axe to grind.

It's always blown me away how hostile slashdotters are to green tech. Green tech means jobs and wealth and social mobility for the intelligent.

Re:Stop the FUD (1)

hypergreatthing (254983) | about a year and a half ago | (#43431673)

So i guess people don't turn on a great many devices in their own homes in a "certain way"?
It's been happening since electricity was commercialized and sold. It's called brown outs. Last time i checked, the grid isn't a smoldering mess because of it.

Re:Stop the FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43432327)

This sounds like a job for MythBusters.

Re:Stop the FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43430847)

A hacker could just as concievably shut down the computer or payment system in a traditional gas station rendering it useless. Or disrupt the credit authentication system. Or a terrorist could bomb them.

Just because its an EV does not make it or its infrastructure any more or less succeptible to an attack of some kind. To say otherwise just discourages people from looking at it as an alternative and is FUD.

Stop that, you know common sense is shunned on /.!!!

I have increasingly taken to leaving my gasoline powered car in the garage, and instead have been getting around using a more environmentally friendly technique, one that though it has a computer on it, I'm pretty sure is immune to hackers. It is charged by me eating food, and drinking water. Then I get on top of this specially designed saddle called a "seat" and apply force using a couple things called "pedals" that cause the rear wheel to spin, producing force that advances the vehicle along most surfaces I traverse when going from one place to another. The computer, by virtue of not being attached to the internet in any way, shape or form, tells me the crank RPM's, vehicle speed, distance traveled, etc., all without being the least bit susceptible to being "hacked". Like the headlights, taillight, and air-pump, the computer can be removed to prevent tampering, and is readily portable. Some even have built-in GPS that can tell you where you are and where you've been, but I use an older technology for that called a "map". I am so retro!

It also doubles as a method of recreation, and physical exercise. Best of all, it was much cheaper than my car, and can be lashed to the back of it!

The point of all this is that with more of these 2-wheel, human powered contraptions like mine, there will be reduced reliance on cars whether they use gasoline, diesel, liquefied propane gas, or even chemically stored electricity (in the form of a dry or wet-cell, etc. battery).

You're right, it's FUD, but at the same time attention should always be paid to tamper-protection, and not just as an afterthought.
 

Re:Stop the FUD (1)

geekmux (1040042) | about a year and a half ago | (#43430909)

A hacker could just as concievably shut down the computer or payment system in a traditional gas station rendering it useless. Or disrupt the credit authentication system. Or a terrorist could bomb them. Just because its an EV does not make it or its infrastructure any more or less succeptible to an attack of some kind. To say otherwise just discourages people from looking at it as an alternative and is FUD.

FUD?

On the technology that stands to disrupt companies that profit at a rate of $1,000 per second?

You don't say...

Re: Stop the FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43430929)

Seems to be a theme that all these outlandish "what ifs" have come from this hack the box conference. It sounds like its a bunch of government fear mongers that will probably use these speeches as a reason to steal more right.

Re:Stop the FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43431209)

Taking out a gas station doesn't effect other gas stations. Disrupting the grid via an EV charger would effect everything. Learn to read the summary before you nerdrage.

Re:Stop the FUD (1)

Drewdad (1738014) | about a year and a half ago | (#43431951)

Researchers have discovered a substance known as "gasoline" that is common place at convenience stores. It is toxic and highly flammable, and could easily be used to create improvised incendiary devices...

No EV FUD found (1)

Cajun Hell (725246) | about a year and a half ago | (#43433299)

When I RTFAed, the impression I got is that the charging stations cooperate with one another and trust one another. That is, one charging station can influence the behavior of others. Furthermore it's supposedly relatively easy to get a charging station's signing key and then impersonate that charging station. That is, I can say I'm a nearby charging station who si charging 100 cars right now, and thereby persuade other charging systems that right now isn't a good time for them to charge their cars, or charge them slowly. DoS, via lying about a resource being scarcer than it really is.

The ease of impersonation is not really an EV issue, but rather a defect in how these particlar EV charging systems work. The machines are not well-protected.

The reason the impersonation matters (why the cooperation and trust happens in the first place) is where the EV-specific tech comes in. Gas pumps scale better than electricity "pumps," because they're buffered by gas stations' storage tanks. If ten gas stations are all working at the same time, it doesn't put extra pressure on the gas-delivery tankers, the way that ten charging stations working at the same time, puts pressure on the shared electricity system.

This is not EV FUD; no implications were made that EV should be avoided. It's a call to people to protect their EV chargers, make the keys harder to get, or have chargers deal with the trust issues different, or buffer the energy at night so they don't need to cooperate with one another, etc.

If there's FUD, it's against certain manufacturers.

Station security today? (2)

geekmux (1040042) | about a year and a half ago | (#43430763)

When all one needs is a match to cause chaos at any one of the 100,000+ gas stations across the country, it seems rather strange that we're raising the physical security flag on this. Not saying he doesn't have a point, just seems to wash out when looking at what you could do today with so little.

My house is connected to the electrical grid, and yet for some reason (safety design perhaps?), I highly doubt I could take out a city block from my bedroom outlet.

Re:Station security today? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43430771)

I would presume (s)he means that since there are so few stations available you could cause a pileup by taking out a midway station, considering the customer doesn't have enought power to reach the next station.

Re:Station security today? (1)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | about a year and a half ago | (#43430777)

Please tell that to all the suicidal folks who smoke in gas stations.

Re:Station security today? (1)

datapharmer (1099455) | about a year and a half ago | (#43431085)

you can smoke all you want. It isn't hot enough to be a problem. Just don't light up a new one.

Re:Station security today? (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year and a half ago | (#43431131)

But I've seen it happen. In the movies.

Re:Station security today? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43430805)

"I highly doubt I could take out a city block from my bedroom outlet."

I've done it. Accidentially, while playing with capacitors. Wired something wrong, sent a silly-voltage spike into the grid and power went. It came back a few minutes later, so presumably I just tripped a safety shutdown at the nearest substation and it auto-reset after a short time.

Re:Station security today? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#43430815)

I highly doubt I could take out a city block from my bedroom outlet.

You're not trying very hard.

The trick is to put something *into* the wires. Something like a Marx generator should do the trick.

Re:Station security today? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43431069)

Damn communists!

Re:Station security today? (0)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | about a year and a half ago | (#43430853)

A match at a current gas station will shut down the gas station and a small evacuation area around it.
  Doing this at an EV station, would take out all the houses and businesses in a massive area around it including possibly the hospital several blocks away..etc.etc.
Maybe even an entire city, and all the EV stations therein.
See the problem now?

Re:Station security today? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43430939)

A match at a current gas station will shut down the gas station and a small evacuation area around it. Doing this at an EV station, would take out all the houses and businesses in a massive area around it including possibly the hospital several blocks away..etc.etc. Maybe even an entire city, and all the EV stations therein. See the problem now?

Yes, I do.

An electrical engineer needs to be fired.

Electric grids are not new. Neither are the safeties built in, and no attack at a damn gas station should be able to take out a hospital, which also usually has its own backup power.

Re:Station security today? (1)

Cajun Hell (725246) | about a year and a half ago | (#43433391)

It's not the electrical engineers; it's the software guys. The scenario isn't that an attacker shorts something out; it's that he tricks machines into thinking there's a higher risk of shorting something out (or conceivably: brownouts from overuse).

You can build an electric grid as reliably as you want, but if my software doesn't believe you, and decides to draw lower power when it mistakenly thinks others are drawing more power than they really are, then my software can be DoSed.

You just fired the wrong guy. But thanks for protecting my job. Maybe this union idea isn't as stupid and unethical as I thought it was. ;-)

Re:Station security today? (1)

nukenerd (172703) | about a year and a half ago | (#43430943)

A match at a current gas station will shut down the gas station and a small evacuation area around it.

Small? In the UK the police are inclined to shut down vast areas around even minor fires. Elf and safety you know.

Re:Station security today? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#43430947)

When all one needs is a match to cause chaos at any one of the 100,000+ gas stations across the country, it seems rather strange that we're raising the physical security flag on this.

Nothing strange about it, they're after a budget allocation and some new offices so they can deal with the menace more effectively.

Re:Station security today? (1)

gigaherz (2653757) | about a year and a half ago | (#43430977)

Your outlet isn't giving out over 10KW of charging power, though.

Re:Station security today? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43431055)

Not in my bedroom, but my cooker socket can handle 13kW.

Re:Station security today? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year and a half ago | (#43432749)

The difference is the 'fear of the unknown' at play. Most people understand fuel and fires. Those that do not, typically do not live long enough to breed.

Electricity, however, is one of those newfangled things you can't see. Shit like that's just ain't no natural.

I'd be more interested in knowing (2)

gigaherz (2653757) | about a year and a half ago | (#43430765)

[...] in order to prevent attackers from accessing and tempering with them, [...]

temper /tempr/ Verb: Improve the hardness and elasticity of (steel or other metal) by reheating and then cooling it.

How does this relate to EV chargers and why would it be important to prevent people from using them for this task.

Re:I'd be more interested in knowing (1)

gigaherz (2653757) | about a year and a half ago | (#43430767)

Hint:

tamper /tampr/ Verb: Interfere with (something) to cause damage or make unauthorized alterations.

Re:I'd be more interested in knowing (0)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#43430783)

fail.

Re:I'd be more interested in knowing (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#43430965)

well.. if there's free electricity you can use it for tempering, by using the electricity for heating them, if enough people are doing this then others can't charge their vehicles and they get stuck.

and twenty years ago the same guy probably announced that we're doomed because protesters could go and set gasoline stations on fire and then people wouldn't have a place to go to get gasoline.

Wrong venue (2, Insightful)

aquabat (724032) | about a year and a half ago | (#43430803)

I think you have accidentally posted this piece to the wrong site, sir. There are too many people here who have a clue for your tactic to work. I suggest you try "SeekingAlpha" or "Forbes", if you want to manipulate a market more effectively.

Re:Wrong venue (2)

ub3r n3u7r4l1st (1388939) | about a year and a half ago | (#43431255)

Seeking Alpha is just now become Seeking Clicks..., authors get paid by the number of visits to their articles, so they churn out as many crap as they can with sensational titles, and as long as you click on it, cha-ching for them.

Errr...cash for kWh ??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43430819)

Where is the problem ? Render teh charging station a vending machine: you throw in credit and you can fill up said amount. A very simple, nuke-proof (if done right), system. If you want to support plastic of stuff like LTC it get's more complicated bu even those types of transaction can be secured with acceptable effort.

Why bother (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year and a half ago | (#43430873)

Why bother crippling the grid by hacking chargers when they could just hack it directly [cnet.com]

Yawn. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43430903)

Those are not "hackers". The rest is FUD (even if it could be true; anyone with a brain can figure this one out--why do we need "researchers" to tell us the obvious) and so I've saved some time by not even reading all of the excerpt.

How appropriate (5, Interesting)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year and a half ago | (#43430933)

A few days ago, Bruce Schneier launched the Sixth Movie Plot Contest [schneier.com] , with the goal of creating catastrophic but plausible things that "cyberwarriors" and evil hackers could do to destroy America. There are some fascinating ones, that's for sure, but the real point is that if you try to defend against everything that could happen, you'll waste most of your efforts.

Unlike Petrol/Gas Pumps then. (1)

nukenerd (172703) | about a year and a half ago | (#43430937)

What could possibly go wrong with petrol/gas pumps ?

Re:Unlike Petrol/Gas Pumps then. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43434099)

When will you British start calling it gas, short gasoline? It's the actual stuff that engines run on. Petrol, short for petroleum, is the unrefined stuff that you pump out of the ground.

Simple Answer (1)

Dereck1701 (1922824) | about a year and a half ago | (#43431025)

Isn't there a simple answer to this, DON'T MAKE THE STUPID CHARGING STATIONS REMOTELY ACCESSIBLE. There has to be ways to make sure the stations aren't putting too much strain on the power grid without tying them into some massive (insecure) control structure. Maybe wire them all into a single meter, and have the meter act as a smaller network letting the group of stations use a certain amount of power depending on the time of day. For personal chargers utilities could give homeowners a bill credit if they only charge their cars between specified times. While creating a centralized control network is easier from an administrative point of view, it creates far too much risk of some miscreant or criminal/foreign element using it with malice.

Re:Simple Answer (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about a year and a half ago | (#43431639)

" For personal chargers utilities could give homeowners a bill credit if they only charge their cars between specified times. "

This exists in some areas, or did 20 years ago when I lived in MD. They implemented time of use rates, which meant that electricity used in the middle of a summer day was (back then) 18c/kWh, but at night was 2.9c/kWh. There were shoulder periods, too. And the charges/hours differed in the winter.

In addition, they would give you a $10 credit for an A/C cutoff box and $5 credit for a WH cutoff box which allowed them to remotely cycle your system off for up to 20min/hr for A/C and 4hr/day for water heating. I'm pretty sure I had them install the box for the WH because I already had a timer which made sure it was off during the peak periods.

This would be fairly easy to do; allowing the grid to cancel charging of high-rate interfaces for a set period of time.

Re:Simple Answer (2)

budgenator (254554) | about a year and a half ago | (#43431659)

The point is when the high capacity rapid chargers are widely deployed, if they all began rapid charging at the same time the voltage drop and current surge on the grid would cause an automatic circuit trip. Likewise if charging stations were all runnining by a staggered start, the grid's power stations would ramp up power output, then if you stopped charging all of the stations at the same times the power-sations would over-rev and automatically shut-down. Now consider if the grid sub-stations were hacked into and the trip-current levels on the circuit breakers were set too high, now you could blow out those hugh transformers at the sub-stations, and they aren't inventory items, they are custom made to order items, it can take months to replace 1, image trying to replace 100's! The Northeast blackout of 2003 [wikipedia.org] affected 55,000,000 and the primary cause was a software bug in a single computer, imagine what could be accomplished as an act of war attack rather than an accident on a hot day. I'm not all that curious to see if a real-life version of the TV show Revolution [wikipedia.org] can be created.

Why would they want to do it? (1)

Max_W (812974) | about a year and a half ago | (#43431057)

The web-servers are being hacked mostly to send spam. I do not see why would one want to hack remotely into a charger.

Yeah... (1)

jonr (1130) | about a year and a half ago | (#43431121)

Nice try, Exxon FUD department...

could...could..could... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43431141)

Hackers could use paper clips to cause the Earth to fall into the sun....

Never heard of subjunctive mode?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43431167)

It irritates me that people misuse English with language like "it is important that the charging systems popping up in cities around the world are secure in order..."
where the present tense is used. Should be "it is important that the charging systems popping up in cities around the world be secure in order..." which you notice avoids the present-only mis-implication...

Re:Never heard of subjunctive mode?? (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about a year and a half ago | (#43431371)

Negative. Charging stations are deployed and BEING deployed RIGHT NOW. Present tense applies

And this is why we can't have nice things (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about a year and a half ago | (#43431353)

Imagine if we didn't have to worry about some ding-dong breaking things just because they could. We would have pneumatic tubes to every house, kitchen lasers for cutting would be common place, and small nuclear reactors in our back yards

Re:And this is why we can't have nice things (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43432099)

Dude, the anti-gun lobby won't even let us have explosive the size of a tic tac. What planet do you think they'd let us have nukes? It's not ding-dongs who break things, it's the lawmakers who serve the rich and want to keep us lowlies disempowered.

You can't hack a donkey... (1)

eksith (2776419) | about a year and a half ago | (#43431489)

... except with an axe. This is why we should all switch to four legged power and methane scoops for the pooping area. I submit, this is the greatest idea ever conceived since the wheel.

Avoid smart meters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43431679)

Well, if the greedy power companies would not have smart meters, this would not be as much of a problem.

Mad Libs (2)

Enry (630) | about a year and a half ago | (#43431819)

Hackers could abuse ______ to _____ a/the ____.

Yes, yes... (2)

sesshomaru (173381) | about a year and a half ago | (#43431849)

We should stick with nice, safe, harmless gasoline.

Totally harmless... [youtube.com]

You mean gas stations are currently safe? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43431889)

That a terrorist couldn't abuse the wide variety of location which contain thousands of gallons of highly flammable liquid?

Don't think you have to worry about hackers (1)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | about a year and a half ago | (#43432263)

Just think if 10% of the population have electric vehicles, coming home at the end of a hot day in the middle of summer, and then all dutifully plugging in their cars to the grid at roughly the same time.

Most regions have issues where they reach peak energy production at times during the summer so I can't imagine how much more load hundreds of thousands of electric vehicles will have. Remember that no gas car is consuming electricity today so every new electric vehicle that plugs in is an added burden to a system that is already stressed and often antiquated in many places.

I know that at least in Ontario we have a program where we can opt to have smart thermostats where the grid can adjust your cooling temp a few degrees down during peak usage to help stave off a pending outage. I think a system like this program should be mandatory for anybody buying an electric vehicle so that if there if the grid is nearing peak usage all these electric cars could go into a trickle charge mode, or at least force deferred charging to off peak hours.

Re:Don't think you have to worry about hackers (1)

firewrought (36952) | about a year and a half ago | (#43434339)

Just think if 10% of the population have electric vehicles, coming home at the end of a hot day in the middle of summer, and then all dutifully plugging in their cars to the grid at roughly the same time.

Believe it or not, the utility and automotive industries are well aware of these issues. A lot of work is being done to anticipate the possible rise of electrical vehicles, integrate them with the smart grid, etc. etc.

Incidentally, winter peaks are going to be more challenging than summer, because they happen later in the evening (compare slides 30 [summer] and 31 [winter], here [google.com] ).

Brought to you by Exxon, GM, TSA, etc.... (1)

lasermike026 (528051) | about a year and a half ago | (#43432395)

Brought to you by Exxon, GM, TSA, cops looking for a job, etc.... Come on, I can't take the hype anymore. SHUT UP!

DOS on electric meters? (4, Insightful)

John Jorsett (171560) | about a year and a half ago | (#43432927)

This brings to mind something else I've been wondering lately. Are the new electric meters that are going in capable of disconnecting service by remote command? If so, I'd think that would be an even jucier target for hacker disruption.

Many manufacturers need a license.... (2)

TimO_Florida (2894381) | about a year and a half ago | (#43432991)

Many manufacturers need a license to put anything controllable on the Net. Devices need to be certified that they are not openly hackable or a danger sitting out there in the big wide world....

Easy solution (1)

fredan (54788) | about a year and a half ago | (#43433739)

Just use IPv6 on the devices.
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