Oxford University researchers and specialists from the Swiss Federal Defense Procurement Administration (Armasuisse) have identified a new attack method that allows remote interference in the charging process of electric vehicles.
The attack, dubbed Brokenwire, consists of wirelessly sending malicious signals to the attacked vehicle in order to cause electromagnetic interference and disrupt the charging process.
The attack is aimed at the Combined Charging System (widely used DC fast charging stations) and involves interference in the communication process between the charger and the vehicle.
The researchers emphasize that the attack only works in relation to DC fast charging stations. Home charging stations that typically use AC charging are immune to Brokenwire because they use other communication standards.
During the experiments, the researchers managed to carry out an attack on seven types of vehicles and 18 charges at a distance of up to 47 m using a software-defined radio, a 1-watt radio frequency amplifier and a dipole antenna. The attack successfully worked at a distance of several floors, through fences and even if you drive past a charging vehicle.
Not only electric cars, but also electric ships, airplanes and heavy trucks are subject to the Brokenwire attack.
After the attack begins, the car will not charge until the attack stops and it is reconnected to the charging station manually. Experts noted that although the attack can be used to interrupt the charging process, it does not seem to cause irreversible damage to systems.
The researchers reported their discovery to the affected manufacturers, and some technical details of the attack were not made public to prevent possible abuse. According to the researchers, the attack can be carried out using ready-made radio equipment and with minimal technical knowledge.