Card Readers at EV Charging Stations - An Easy Target for Cyber Fraud

By CIOReview | Wednesday, July 24, 2019

US states installing card readers at Electric Vehicle charging stations can make it the cyber criminals' next favorite.

FREMONT, CA: Several states in the United States of America are planning to install magnetic stripe credit card readers at Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations. However, security researchers at Digital Citizens Alliance say that this move could increase security risks and are prone to abuse by fraudsters.

Most EV charging stations rely on transactions via mobile payments through smart phones and RFID cards. Contactless payments are one of the most secure ways to make payments, eliminating the risk of a card being cloned or having its data skimmed.

The researchers feel that the proposed Magnetic Stripe Reader (MSR) technology would be a step backward for consumer security. Magnetic strip cards is still one of the most preferred payment methods in the U.S, which is a big concern for its security. Card readers have always been a target for hackers and installing them at EV charging stations would mean increased risk for consumers, while providing easy access for credit card fraud and identity theft.

According to the research by Digital Citizens Alliance, identity theft is now a $16 billion industry and affects over 16 million Americans. MSR and EMV (Europay, Mastercard, and Visa) chip readers, which are the most popular payment methods in the US, are ill-protected and will continue to be vulnerable to cyber attacks.

Most EV charging stations are in remote locations, unmonitored and unattended, which makes it easy for cyber criminals to install devices that go without being detected. As a result, until more secure payment options are provided, EV charging stations could soon surpass gas pumps as the new favorite for cyber fraud.