Electric Vehicles' Charging Halted Due to Remote'  Brokenwire' Hack 

Electric Vehicles’ Charging Halted Due to Remote’  Brokenwire’ Hack 

Researchers from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom and the Swiss federal agency Armasuisse have discovered a novel method for remotely interrupting the charging of electric vehicles. The attack methodology is named Brokenwire. It involves transmitting malicious signals wirelessly to the targeted car so that electromagnetic interference can be caused and charging sessions can be disrupted. 

The attack goes against the Combined Charging System, a commonly used DC quick charging method, and disrupts communication between the charger and the car. According to the researchers, the Brokenwire attack only works against DC rapid chargers. Home charging stations, which generally use AC charging, are unaffected because they have different communication standards. 

During the experimentations, the researchers were able to replicate the strategy against seven types of automobiles and 18 chargers at distances of up to 47m (150 feet) with the help of software-defined radio, a dipole antenna, and a 1W RF amplifier. They proved that the attack might be carried out between multiple floors of a structure and via perimeter fences, as well as drive-by attacks. 

Brokenwire is a covert and scalable attack that affects not only electric automobiles but also electric ships, aircraft, and heavy-duty vehicles. The researchers said that Brokenwire has immediate ramifications for many of the approximately 12 million battery-electric vehicles on the road today — as well as far-reaching repercussions for the next wave of electrification for vehicle fleets, both for the private sector and critical public services. 

“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,” they warned. 

Following the start of an attack, the targeted car will not be able to charge until the incident ends and the vehicle is reconnected to the charging station manually. The experts said that while the attack may be used to disrupt charging sessions, it does not appear to inflict any permanent damage to the targeted devices. The researchers have informed the impacted manufacturers of their findings, and some technical details regarding the attack have not been made public to avoid exploitation. They pointed out that an attack may be carried out with off-the-shelf radio equipment and no technical expertise. 

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