Do electric cars need an antivirus? What we know so far
In the technological era nowadays, electric transportation is gaining ground, with more manufacturers taking the electric route and top automakers committed to entirely zero-emissions for new car sales by 2040. Modern cars have become increasingly dependent on computers and software systems can be vulnerable to attacks. Connected cars can talk to each other (vehicle-to-vehicle) and they’re also able to talk to the city they’re driving around (vehicle-to-infrastructure) and this is becoming fundamental for autonomous driving. Such networking implies details and functions that allow navigation, but also helps to smooth the traffic flow and prevent accidents. With numerous wireless interfaces implemented in the modern automobile, there are digital radio interfaces accepting outside input, some over a short range and others over indefinite distance.
Does this enhanced connectivity mean that electric cars can be vulnerable to attacks? Apart from Man-in-the-Middle attacks that can intercept the RF signals normally sent from a remote key fob to the car, security researchers have found flaws that raise serious concerns. In the event an attacker connects to the car, he could control some of the cars’ functions and might be able to have access to sensitive data as well, such as the name that the owner gave to their car, its current location, the precise routes the car took in the last few days, the speed of the car, and more. Cars could be easily stolen or worse, attackers could use autonomous driving to conduct terrorist attacks.
It's not only the software of the vehicle that can be manipulated with the right tools, the charging infrastructure can be attacked as well.
Security researchers demonstrated a novel wireless attack against the Combined Charging System (CCS) used in most electric cars today to allow third parties to disrupt the charging process remotely.
An attack at a larger scale could result in unauthorized use of the charging station, service interruptions, failure to communicate charging data records to the supervisory system, and the alteration and disclosure of the charging station’s configuration. Furthermore, if the charging station allows you to initiate a charge by tapping the card against a card reader, this can also pose a vulnerability. Electric vehicle charging stations could become one of the next big targets for fraudsters, according to this article here.
Maybe the time has come to add intelligent cars to the same category as the other electronic devices we use daily?
What’s your opinion on electric transportation security? Do you own an electric car?
Let us know in the comments below.
Flexx Moderator, Defender of the month mod
We are living in a world where everything can be manipulated in some way or the other.
While I do own an electric vehicle but I charge it at home only. I have read many post related to the attacks that can happen on the charging equipments on the charging station. As per the below post by antimalware vendor Panda Securities, it seems that charging stations are connected to the internet and we all know that internet is not a safe place anymore.
But still it amazes me as to what all things can be hacked or attacked. No electronic device that needs an internet access seems to be safe.
OMEN Laptop 15-en1037AX (Bitdefender Total Security) & Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (Bitdefender Mobile Security)2
In the short run, I would be more worried about privacy issues. Connected cars send and receive an awful lot of information. The smarter the car, the more information it sends. So yeah, someone messing with the cloud and then following your trips, maybe even tapping into your onboard cameras, is definitely creepy and a scenario we should take into consideration in the near future.4
Considering that electric car's software is more and more vulnerabe to attacks, i think that sooner or later, Bitdefender will launch a product called "Bitdefender For Electric Cars". :)
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