More than 26.4 million electric vehicles (EVs) are expected to be on the roads by 2030, according to the Edison Electric Institute. With the development of networking technology for the Internet of Vehicles (IoV), there are opportunities for persistent and dangerous cyber-attacks. If these threats are not detected (especially for safety-critical applications), they can lead to catastrophic failure and substantial economic loss. Effective detection, diagnosis, and mitigation methodologies must be developed to secure connected electric vehicles and EV charging stations.

The IEEE Xplore digital library brings you access to advancements and breakthroughs in the connected electric vehicles field. We have highlighted several recent advancements below:

Increasing Security of EV Charging Stations

In the coming years, it will be critical to have a security plan for EV charging stations and a robust electric distribution infrastructure to accommodate the continuously growing number of EVs. Transmission of large amounts of energy within short time frames (like that of charging vehicles) can cause electric network voltage instability problems. An attack to take control of EV charging stations and local battery energy storage systems could compromise the electric distribution power grid's operational security and voltage stability, pushing the whole grid toward instability.

In an article published in the IEEE Journal of Emerging and Selected Topics in Power Electronics, researchers propose the Hidden Markov Model (HMM) based cyber attack prediction and mitigation strategy to enhance cybersecurity at EV charging stations. The paper applies STRIDE-based threat modeling to analyze and identify multiple potential threats endured by the eXtreme Fast Charging (XFC) stations' cyber-physical system using a weighted attack defense tree. The proposed defense tree then creates a set of cyber attack scenarios as input for the HMM model. Prediction and mitigation algorithms can detect cyber attackers' intrusions, anomalies, and abnormal behaviors. Additionally, it can propose pre-determined active defense scenarios to minimize and restore cyber attacks. 

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Smart Key Authentication for the Zero-Trust Framework

Most popular authentication protocols rely on a knowledge factor that is infamously known to be vulnerable to subversions. Recently, the zero-trust framework has drawn a lot of attention, and there is a need to develop further the existing Continuous Authentication (CA) technique to achieve the zero-trust framework. In a paper presented at the 2022 IEEE Conference on Pervasive Computing and Communications, researchers outline their design for a smart car key system for a modern car rental company.

The researchers developed a static authentication process and a secured protocol to generate the smart key for the user to unlock the vehicle. A continuous authentication system based on fingerprint, NFC, and facial information is used to authenticate the driver. Analysis has proven that the proposed protocol for key establishment is secure against popular attacks. In addition, for analyzing the proposed continuous authentication mechanism, the researchers built a prototype incorporating Raspberry PI as a replica of the car’s computer interfaced with the fingerprint and NFC modules and an Android app that facilitates each factor of authentication. The preliminary experiment in real-world settings suggests the efficacy of the proposed design.

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Powertrain Systems In Modern EVs

Power electronics systems have become increasingly vulnerable to cyber-physical threats due to their growing penetration in the Internet-of-Things (IoT)-enabled applications, including connected electric vehicles (EVs). In an article published in the IEEE Journal of Emerging and Selected Topics in Power Electronics, researchers outline an architecture for next-generation power electronics systems to address the cyber-physical security challenges of EVs. In the first comprehensive study on the cyber-physical security of powertrain systems in modern EVs, the researchers discuss challenges and future visions of cyber-physical security for connected EVs from the perspective of firmware security, vehicle charging safety, and powertrain control security.

In the article, the researchers introduce a cybersecurity architecture of next-generation power electronics systems for EVs. The proposed architecture will “provide a cybersecurity solution to the next generation of power electronics systems at the design and operation stages. More importantly, this architecture will focus on device and system levels to monitor the vehicle system in real-time.” As noted by the authors, while this detection and mitigation approach provides a technical solution against malicious attacks—there are still several challenges to be solved for the cybersecurity of powertrain and power electronic systems in EVs.

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Multitiered Hybrid Intrusion Detection System

Internet of Vehicles (IoV) technology is a primary vehicular communication framework that enables reliable communications between vehicles and other IoV entities, such as infrastructures, pedestrians, and smart devices. With the increasing research and rapid development of IoV technology, connected and autonomous vehicles are becoming increasingly popular in the modern world. In an article published in the IEEE Internet of Things Journal, researchers propose a multitiered hybrid IDS (MTH-IDS) to efficiently identify cyber-attacks using Machine Learning (ML) algorithms

The proposed MTH-IDS framework consists of two traditional ML algorithms (data preprocessing and feature engineering), comprising four main tiers: 1) data preprocessing; 2) feature engineering; 3) a signature-based IDS, and 4) an anomaly-based IDS. The four tiers of learning models enable the framework to achieve optimal performance for both known and unknown attack detection in vehicular networks. Through the performance evaluation of the proposed IDS, the system can effectively detect various types of known attacks with accuracies of 99%. The experimental results on a vehicle-level machine also show the feasibility of the proposed approach in real-time environments. 

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The articles are just a few examples of hundreds of articles available within the IEEE Xplore Digital Library related to electric vehicles and cybersecurity.

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