Modern electric vehicles came into being in the late 20th century because of the unsustainability of the oil crisis. They began as rudimentary models with basic features, but their specifications have become more adapted to the real world with advancing technology. Attributes such as a higher range, shorter charging times, and more durability have made electric cars significant to the market. Unfortunately, owning a car also means increased vulnerability due to data access. EVs have a complex software system that controls different elements of the driving experience. If a hacker gains access to security codes on the EV system, it may lead to personal information access.
Understanding the Threat Landscape
As electric vehicles (EVs) continue to evolve, bringing innovative features and enhanced connectivity, they also open new avenues for potential security threats. The integration of advanced technology in EVs not only enhances user experience but also raises concerns about vulnerabilities to hacking and fraud. Before delving into the essential measures for securing your electric vehicle, it is crucial to understand the threat landscape.
Types of hacking threats for EVs
Vehicle software may be hacked, thereby allowing the cybercriminals to take control of the vehicle from a remote point. Cybercriminals looking for a market yet to be capitalized may take advantage of this element in the vehicle’s operation, creating ransomware or facilitating carjackings. Similarly, stations may be hacked, allowing access to the power grid and models charging at the station. It may also be used for carjacking or accessing the vehicle owner’s information. Data breaches may extend to financial accounts, as well. Electrical vehicle manufacturers also typically rely on third-party suppliers to get components for the vehicle models. It means that if the cyber-criminal hacks the supplier, it may affect not only the security levels on specific cars but all of those that use that component.
Unauthorized Access to Vehicle Systems
Hackers may exploit the vulnerabilities within a vehicle’s systems to get unauthorized access, disrupt functions, and manipulate firmware. That may lead to carjacking in extreme situations should the vehicle have auto-drive settings. It can cause the car to drive a certain way or to stop depending on the commands issued. That may create an accident or a detour as well, at the expense of the vehicle owner. Access to vehicle systems may also mean hacking finances and the driver’s data.
Vehicle Theft and Ransomware
Hackers can now disable a vehicle’s systems to demand money from driver’s insurers and manufacturers. Effectively, it qualifies as theft because they only relinquish control when the victims have yielded to their demands. As technology advances, it will reach an extent where the vehicles are commandeered remotely and made to go to varying locations.
5 Essential Measures to Protect Your EV Against Hacking
Currently, the most likely access to an EV for hackers would be through the charging system. Hence, it would be a great idea to structure the strategies for protection around it.
Creating Strong Unique Passwords
Vehicle owners may also ensure Internet of Things Security. As technology advances, so does connectivity; the vehicle is connected to the home and other systems. It would be critical to ensure all devices that can access the charging network or vice versa are protected by authentication tools. That is updated password hashes and secure string handling.The strength and complexity of your passwords play a critical role in this security paradigm. A secure password should be complex, unpredictable, and unique, effectively acting as a first line of defense against unauthorized access. Regularly updating these passwords not only helps in keeping potential intruders at bay but also significantly reduces the chances of successful hacking attempts.
Secure Wi-Fi and Network Connections
It would be advisable to eliminate public and fixed IP addresses. Public IPs are risky to the Internet of Things Deployments, including EV charging networks. Eliminating them would make it difficult for the hackers to access devices and networks where they would easily operate. Some services ensure the chargers in a network do not need a fixed IP address. That makes them invisible to the internet at the time, significantly reducing opportunistic threats.
Regular Software Updates
The other strategy is to stay as current as possible. All software used on the IoT and connected devices should be current. That means ensuring all software patches for the components are up to date.
Practicing Safe Charging Habits
People should also adopt a zero-trust type of mindset. That can be done by ensuring authentication practices are in place for software and hardware points. It could also be done by largely depending on home charging or trusted outlets.
But keep in mind that while home charging is often the safest option, due to the controlled environment it offers, there will be times when you need to rely on commercial EV charging stations. When using these public facilities, it’s important to be cautious and selective. Opt for well-known, reputable commercial charging stations that adhere to high security standards and regularly update their systems to protect against hacking and fraud.
Utilizing Antivirus and Anti-Malware Software
The other thing to do is to install intrusion detection software. It ensures the network administrators can perceive intrusion alerts across the charging network so all attacks are intercepted in the initial stages.
Understand the Risks and Benefits of Electric Vehicles
Owning a car comes with much more security data-wise than in the past. That is evident with the security threats electric vehicles are exposed to, considering their levels of technology. They now have better range, batteries, and shorter charging times. Unfortunately, electric vehicles have adopted IoT technologies, which increases their vulnerability to hacking. Using software or hardware access points such as charging stations, hackers may now gain control of the vehicle’s data. The cybercriminals behind these attacks can use this for various ends, such as stealing the vehicle or holding it ransom by shutting down all systems. They may also access the owners financial and personal information to further their interests. Cyber threats may also target suppliers of EV parts, thereby compromising the systems of all vehicles with the specific part in one attack. There are ways to reduce these threats on EVs, like utilizing antiviruses, practicing safe charging, ensuring the network is secure, creating strong passwords and regularly updating software.