Cards for electric car charging stations very easy to copy: report

The charging cards which electric car owners use to charge their cars at a charging point are "childishly easy" to copy, which means that malicious parties can easily charge their car at other people's cost, according to security company ESET. As far as is known, this problem applies to all Dutch charge cards and public charging points, NOS reports.

The cards are practically unprotected, Dave Maasland of ESET said to the broadcaster. There is a digital serial number on each card, which is all a malicious person needs to copy a card and use it. And these numbers are not protected in any way. "The serial number is all you need to know. It is as if you could do shopping with someone's debit card if you know his account number", Maasland said. 

In order to read the serial number on a charge card, all you need is a special smartphone app and an empty card, Maasland said. It can be copied in 1.5 seconds. The perpetrator will need access to the victim's card, but as copying is so quick, it could happen unnoticed in a public place, according to Maasland. There are no indications that this has actually happened in the past. 

Shell subsidiary NewMotion, one of the major suppliers of charge cards, told NOS that they are familiar with the problem. According to the company, the chance of fraud is "small" and the company checks for it. If fraud does occur, the client will not have to pay the costs, NewMotion promised.

Fastned, a major provider of charging points along the highways, said that the cards are "not the best protected technology", according to the broadcaster. "As a company, we pay attention to strange transactions", board member Niels Korthals Altes said. And those who commit fraud, will be caught, he added. "We have cameras at our charging stations, so if you commit fraud, you can be traced by the license plate."

Card holders can also check with most providers where and when their cards were used.