A combined cyber and physical security system will protect customers charging electric vehicles on smart electricity grids
As electricity grids become more sophisticated, grid administrators can collect instantaneous data on consumer and supplier behavior. The ‘smart grid’ then learns to improve the reliability, costs and sustainability of electricity distribution. However, smart grids present new security challenges, especially for mobile systems such as electric vehicles (EVs), which can be attacked both electronically and physically.
A new automatic security system can protect against both cyber and physical attacks when charging an electric vehicle.
Now, Jianying Zhou and Aldar Chan at the A*STAR Institute of Infocomm Research have developed the first automatic security system that protects EVs from combined cyber–physical attacks .
“Most existing authentication systems merely apply cybersecurity schemes directly to the smart grid, leaving gaps in the protection,” explains Zhou. “The problem is especially serious for EVs, because the charging infrastructure is publicly open. Anyone could plug in an EV, even if it is stolen.”
A particular danger is the so-called substitution attack, whereby a criminal can ‘digitally imitate’ an EV, plugging in their own device while the EV owner pays for the electricity. Chan and Zhou demonstrated a successful substitution attack on an existing EV charging station. “We plugged in kettles and hair dryers; it could be anything that draws current,” says Zhou.
After proving that this security loophole existed, the researchers worked to improve the classic ‘challenge-response’ protocol for online security. “Instead of using a single challenge — which is a random number used to test if a user really is who he claims to be — we used one challenge sent through the wireless cyber path and another challenge through a physical path or the charging cable,” says Zhou. “This ensures that the EV is connected physically to the right spot in the power grid, and that it is a real EV meeting existing EV standards.”
Perhaps inevitably, Chan and Zhou found they could not achieve physical authentication using software alone. They had to design a new onboard hardware mechanism that binds an EV to its digital identity. However, they discovered a way to embed the challenge number in one of the signaling lines of the charging cable, so that existing charging stations will not need to be modified.
The researchers believe that their new security system could protect other components in the power grid, such as relays and transformers, as well as cardless ATMs. “With more research we could devise systems to ensure that the person withdrawing cash actually has digital authorization,” says Zhou.
 Chan, A. C.-F. & Zhou, J. Cyber–physical device authentication for smart grid electric vehicle ecosystem. IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications 32, 1509–1517 (2014).
A*STAR Research | ResearchSEA
The TU Ilmenau develops tomorrow’s chip technology today
27.04.2017 | Technische Universität Ilmenau
Five developments for improved data exploitation
19.04.2017 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences