A UK council has apologised after its electric vehicle (EV) charging stations were hacked to display a pornographic website.
Three Isle of Wight Council car parks were affected by the breach, where screens which were supposed to display the network’s own website were hacked to take visitors to a pornographic site.
A council spokesperson said: “The council would like to apologise to anyone who may have found the inappropriate web content and for any inconvenience from charge points out of action.”
The island is set to get a new batch of electric vehicle chargers installed this summer which will be operated through the MerConnect app, according to the council’s website.
As the number of EVs continue to rise, concerns over the reliability of charging points have emerged.
A report published by UK cybersecurity firm Pen Test Partners in July 2021 revealed several vulnerabilities in six EV home charging brands and public charging network Chargepoint.
The report’s author, Vangelis Stykas identified several security flaws among the various brands that could have allowed a malicious hacker to hijack user accounts, impede charging, and even turn one of the chargers into a “backdoor” into the owner’s home network.
He also indicated that public charging stations could be vulnerable to the theft of electricity and the potential to manipulate chargers by turning them on or off.
“There has clearly been a distinct lack of security assurance in the smart EV charger space – there’s something of a EV ‘gold rush’ going on as homes equip themselves with chargers and the public charging infrastructure offers more and more powerful charging,” said Stykas.
“Basic API security has been missing, as has some basic secure hardware choice. Manufacturers have exposed users to fraud and/or prevented their cars from charging [and] they’ve also unintentionally created a method for others to destabilise our power grid.”
The author noted that Chargepoint were “particularly responsive” and quickly acknowledged and fixed the issues with its service.
Image: Ivan Radic (Flickr)
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