A few of our followers have recently pointed out that, at times, it seems some of Electrify America's (EA) charging stations are "unlocked" or have some sort of bug. Essentially, they've walked up to the unit, and rather than seeing the typical public user interface, they may see what appears to be the back end that's supposed to be for EA employees.
We can only imagine that some folks have tried to explore or mess with the interface since it seems they have unlimited access thanks to the reported bug. However, thankfully, when Ryan of The Kilowatts found the issue and exposed it, he clearly had no ill intentions. In fact, Ryan is among a long list of many EV owners who are practically begging companies like Electrify America to get their DC fast chargers working and fix the reliability and security issues.
As you can see from the tweets below, Ryan made some interesting discoveries:
The Kilowatts were able to help expose potential vulnerabilities and security issues in the EA units by using a program known as TeamViewer. Ryan seemed to get full access to the charger's internal computer, which was reportedly wide open.
Using TeamViewer, he was able to navigate with a mouse, type on a keyboard, and enter various programs with ease, all of which concerns the EV owner and social media influencer significantly.
Of course, while it appears Ryan was just checking things out and stumbled upon the vulnerability, Electrify America clearly wasn't happy he had accessed the computer system. He jokes in the tweet about a "bug bounty program," which it seems EA may need at this point. Nonetheless, the charging company shared the following statement with Teslarati:
“Intentionally accessing a computer system without authorization can be a serious crime and may incur civil liability as well. We continue to investigate these events and intend to protect ourselves and our customers.”
Ryan told the publication that such a vulnerability could make it easy for criminals to hack into EA's systems and get personal information. He even said that if he wanted to, he could make a spoof EV application that collected personal details right from the charging station's touch screen. However, while Ryan didn't get access to the credit card reader, he made it clear that others with more experience in computer hacking may be able to do just that.
While Electrify America is considered by some to be the next best DC fast charging network in the US to Tesla's Supercharger network, it appears to be plagued with issues and inconsistencies. It's certainly not the only charging network that's causing concern, but we've been seeing reports on a regular basis related to alleged software issues, security concerns, and charging stations that simply don't work.
If you've had any such problems or want to get information out there, be sure to share it on Twitter via Rate You Charge (@RateYourCharge). A lack of robust, reliable, and secure fast-charging networks could hinder EV adoption going forward.