Cyber security attack smart home

Should you risk connecting your EV Chargepoint via your home Internet connection?

1 July 2019

Changes to the OLEV grants under the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme, EVHS from 1st July 2019 require that all EV home chargers are Smart.

What requirements do smart EV Home Chargers need to meet ?

Specifically smart means that all EV chargepoints must: 

  • be network connected so they can receive and respond to instructions sent to them

  • be able to react to information received, by adjusting the rate of charging to your electric car 

  • be able to monitor and record electricity consumption from the grid, and be able to send this information out 

  • be able to be accessed remotely, through a data communication protocol and communication technologies

  • have appropriate security measures to ensure that they are resilient to cyber-attack. All home EV chargepoints must ensure that any communications are exchanged in a secure manner with an appropriate level of encryption to prevent interception by an un-authorised third party

How do these Smart requirements differ from the OLEV Workplace Charging Scheme ?

The EVHS requirements are similar to those already in place for OLEV grants under the Workplace Charging Scheme, WCS, but with one significant difference.

Under the Workplace Charging Scheme there are additional installation requirements that state that “All sites must have sufficient network coverage to enable usage data to be communicated via GPRS”.

This is an important difference as it allows chargepoints under the Homecharge Scheme to be connected using an Internet connection provided using your home Internet connection or by 3G or 4G GPRS.

Why could the OLEV EV Homecharge Scheme new smart requirements be an issue?

Meeting all of the OLEV requirements using your home Internet connection rather than GPRS has a number of implications for your home Internet:

  • Usually all home internet traffic is triggered by you. You make a request for information and a reply is sent. The new OLEV EVHS smart requirements mean that requests will come from outside your home to your EV chargepoint. This means that your home internet router will need setting up to work in a different way to be able to accept these requests for information. This will require changing the configuration and set up of your router or maybe even installing a new router.

  • The chargepoint installer will have to be qualified to make changes to your home Internet connectivity to ensure that the remote connection required under OLEV can be created. This will require changes to your home router, access to your router administrator passwords and setting of new firewall rules. Most electricians qualified to install EV chargers are not network engineers. So you need to consider whether an electrician, working to a price, is capable of doing this work ? The resulting setup also needs to be secure to prevent your home, and not just the chargepoint as covered by OLEV, from being subject to cyber attack.

  • Is is almost certain that your home Internet is not configured in the right way to be accessed remotely in the way that OLEV requires. OLEV needs your home Internet address to be fixed or dynamically traceable. Usually this type of internet connection costs money. This will mean your home will be ‘visible’ to the Internet. This creates an additional cyber security risk making your home Internet connection more vulnerable to cyber attack or able to being co-opted into a bot network without your knowledge.

  • The OLEV requirement is for your chargepoint to be connected and accessible. In the event that your router or Internet connection fails to allow this external access it is not clear who will be responsible for sorting this out. It is highly unlikely that your EV chargepoint supplier or installer will not accept the work and liability to do this so it is likely to fall to you. Your Internet provider is also unlikely to want to complete this work without a hefty charge for a site visit to reconfigure your router.

How do I avoid using my home Internet to connect my EV chargepoint ?

It is not clear why the 3G or 4G GPRS requirement in place for the OLEV Workplace charging scheme have not also been applied to the OLEV EVHS Homecharge scheme. The GPRS connection required for the Workplace scheme removes all of the above potential network problems. For you as a homeowner it would allow the chargepoint to be accessed, monitored and controlled without the need to touch your home Internet. This ensures that your home does not become vulnerable to cyber attack simply because you install an EV chargepoint.

Many smart EV chargepoints eligible under the OLEV Homecharge Scheme after 1st July will only allow a network connection via your home Internet. However there are a number of EV chargers which support the use of a 3G or 4G mobile GPRS connection, to avoid the issues highlighted above.

Copyright © 2019 Roma Technology Ltd