October 1, 2022
Researchers from the University of Oxford in the UK and Switzerland's Armasuisse federal company have determined a new attack technique that can be utilized to remotely interrupt the charging of electric lorries . The attack approach, named Brokenwire, includes wirelessly sending malicious signals to the targeted car in order to trigger electro-magnetic disturbance and disrupt…

Researchers from the University of Oxford in the UK and Switzerland’s Armasuisse federal company have determined a new attack technique that can be utilized to remotely interrupt the charging of electric lorries

. The attack approach, named Brokenwire, includes wirelessly sending malicious signals to the targeted car in order to trigger electro-magnetic disturbance and disrupt the charging session.

The attack targets the Combined Charging System– a widely used DC rapid charging technology– and it disrupts the interaction between the battery charger and the lorry. The scientists explained that the Brokenwire attack just works versus DC quick chargers. House charging stations, which usually utilize air conditioning charging, are not affected as they utilize various interaction requirements.

During their experiments, the scientists handled to replicate the technique versus 7 types of cars and 18 chargers, at ranges of as much as 47 m (150 feet) using a software-defined radio, a 1 W RF amplifier, and a dipole antenna. They showed that the attack works between different floorings of a structure and through perimeter fences, and drive-by attacks are possible too.

Brokenwire, which they described as a sneaky and scalable attack, affects not only electrical automobiles, but also electric ships, aircrafts and sturdy automobiles.

“Brokenwire has instant implications for much of the around 12 million battery EVs on the roads worldwide– and profound impacts on the new age of electrification for car fleets, both for personal enterprise and important public services,” the scientists said.

“While it may only be an inconvenience for individuals, interrupting the charging procedure of crucial vehicles, such as electric ambulances, can have deadly effects,” they alerted.

When an attack has been launched, the targeted automobile will not charge up until the attack stops and the vehicle is manually reconnected to the charging station. The experts kept in mind that while the attack can be used to interrupt charging sessions, it does not appear to trigger any irreversible damage to the targeted systems.

The researchers have reported their findings to affected producers and some technical information about the attack have actually not been openly disclosed to avoid abuse. They noted that an attack can be carried out using off-the-shelf radio equipment, with very little technical understanding.

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT instructor for 2 years prior to starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news press reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in commercial informatics and a master’s degree in computer system methods used in electrical engineering.Previous Columns by Eduard Kovacs