Electromobility as privacy hazard

Jun 03, 2014

Consumers who charge an electric vehicle on a regular basis may leave a data trail. With each charging process, the system saves when and where it took place and which customer paid for it – a privacy risk, says Tilman Frosch from the Chair for Systems Security at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB). In "RUBIN", the RUB science magazine, he presents a solution designed to ensure the privacy of users' data during the charging process.

The objective: the anonymous charging station

When charging an electric vehicle, the user provides a RFID card as proof of identity at the charging station, thus transmitting personal data into the accounting system. If the customer is not anonymous and, at the same time, it is known which charging stations he has been using, this information can be used to create a movement profile. Accordingly, the RUB researchers are striving to conceal the location of the charging station when the accounting data are forwarded to the electricity supplier. However, simply leaving out this information is not an option. If, for example, a user wants to appeal against his or her invoice in court, certain location-related data, such as metre numbers, are necessary to resolve the issue.

Group signatures as solution to the problem

In order to ensure that the accounting data submitted by the charging station to the electricity supplier are correct, a is required. The IT security researchers plan to use group signature schemes for this purpose. Such schemes mean that groups of authorised senders exist. But it is impossible to distinguish which group member, i.e. which charging station, has generated the signature. In order to be able to shed light on violations, many group signature schemes operate with a trusted third party, a so-called opener. That opener alone is able to access a certain secure part of the signature. That section contains the name of the actual group member, namely the that has generated the signature.

Thinking data protection through from the outset

"Experience has shown that problems that are not identified until late, such as data trails of , are often rooted deeply within a technology's actual design," says Tilman Frosch. " In new technological areas such as electromobility, it is therefore vital to ensure that security is incorporated into the design from the outset."

Explore further: Researchers develop the first mobile charging system for electric vehicles

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Fast charging station for electric vehicles

Apr 05, 2011

Siemens has launched a new electric-vehicle charging station on the market that can fully recharge a battery within one hour. By doubling the output to 22 kilowatts, the charging station cuts charging times ...

Beware the green car 'big switch'

May 20, 2014

Charging up an electric car can put as much strain on the energy grid as a small family home. So how can we embrace this new technology while keeping an eye on sustainability?

Silicon Valley sees shortage of EV charge stations

Jan 20, 2014

An increasing number of electric-vehicle driving employees at Silicon Valley companies are finding it hard to access car-charging stations at work, creating incidents of "charge rage" among drivers.

Recommended for you

Audi to develop Tesla Model S all-electric rival

3 hours ago

The Tesla Model S has a rival. Audi is to develop all-electric family car. This is to be a family car that will offer an all-electric range of 280 miles (450 kilometers), according to Auto Express, which ...

A green data center with an autonomous power supply

9 hours ago

A new data center in the United States is generating electricity for its servers entirely from renewable sources, converting biogas from a sewage treatment plant into electricity and water. Siemens implemented ...

Can we create an energy efficient Internet?

10 hours ago

With the number of Internet connected devices rapidly increasing, researchers from Melbourne are starting a new research program to reduce energy consumption of such devices.

Shedding light on solar power

Nov 27, 2014

Everyone wants to save energy, but not everyone knows where to start. Grid Resources, a startup based out of the Centre for Urban Energy's iCUE incubator, is developing a new website that seeks to help homeowners ...

Energy transition project moves into its second phase

Nov 27, 2014

Siemens is studying new concepts for optimizing the cost-effectiveness and technical performance of energy systems with distributed and fluctuating electricity production. The associated IRENE research project ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Mike_Syzygy
not rated yet Jun 03, 2014
Same thing with credit cards or those auto-pay fobs for regular gas stations.

Perhaps the electric charge stations do not allow cash, so need the RFID info to charge the customer? Not sure if this is a real problem or not...

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.