New Electrify America Charger Gets Hacked, Displays Tesla's Supercharging Network

Hacked Electrify America Charger 8 photos
Photo: The Kilowatts on Twitter
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If you used an Electrify America charger before the network was revamped, then you might remember how slow the interface used to be. But the new ones come with Windows 10 and upgraded computing power. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about security.
Electrify America must now deal with another issue. Someone discovered that the new 350-kW chargers run on Windows 10 and gained access to a stall’s system by using TeamViewer, a program that helps connect two computers so one can remotely control the other. It’s simple and widely used by IT departments of various companies across the globe.

The footage shows that the stall that was recently installed in Kettleman City, California, has no protection whatsoever from someone that’s just a little tech-savvy. The person used the abovementioned program to run Internet Explorer and was able to surf the web and access various websites, including the controversial social media platform TikTok.

They also visited Tesla’s website, which raises an interesting question – can someone order a brand-new EV made by Elon Musk’s company through an Electrify America charging station? It certainly seems feasible. The high-power charger’s display was eventually left with the Supercharger network on it, which can be safely considered one cheeky move and another free win for Tesla’s inexistent marketing department.

Some social media users have expressed their concerns about this and called it a “national security issue.” The charging network is one of America’s largest and is present in almost every state. The VW-owned subsidiary has over 790 charging locations.

However, it’s important to note that Electrify America customers who experienced problems with newer chargers may have already known how to “hack” a stall. When an operator is notified that the display of a charger is not responding, they will usually reboot it remotely. While the restarting process happens, the user can tap on the screen to access the Windows menu and the Electrify America app remains running in the background.

Before switching to Microsoft’s operating system, Electrify America used to run on its chargers a tailored version of Linux that has been regarded for quite some time as being more secure. Unless a network-wide solution is found, things might have to change again. And switching to an entirely new software platform might turn out to be a bit expensive.

The videos down below do not show how this person gained access to the operating system of the charger but prove that you can go online with one and access various websites. In this case, the competitor’s charging network map was chosen.

But this was not the first time someone was able to use the charger’s display for something else other than confirming a charging session and paying. A person gained access a couple of days ago to one terminal’s critical settings and was able to look at things like overheat protection, as you'll discover looking at the videos down below.

It's also important to know that, while the operating system was easy to access, the payments system is encrypted and is not easily accesible with TeamViewer or any other similar software.

But at the end of the day, only one question remains unanswered – can it run Doom?

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About the author: Florin Amariei
Florin Amariei profile photo

Car shows on TV and his father's Fiat Tempra may have been Florin's early influences, but nowadays he favors different things, like the power of an F-150 Raptor. He'll never be able to ignore the shape of a Ferrari though, especially a yellow one.
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