NIST Cybersecurity Framework for EV Extreme Fast Charging Infrastructure

In recent months, NIST joined forces with MITRE and a professional community of interest, including SaiFlow’s team of experts, and developed a new cybersecurity framework for the critical EV Extreme Fast Charging (XFC) Public Infrastructure.

About the Framework

The newly officialized framework, Electric Vehicle and Extreme Fast Charging (EV/XFC) networks and infrastructure, combines industry standards and best practices for securing the evolving EV charging sites and networks. The framework is designed to guide charge point operators (CPOs) and other relevant stakeholders in managing and mitigating their cybersecurity risks effectively, thereby fortifying the resilience and reliability of the EV/XFC ecosystem.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is a pivotal institution in developing cybersecurity frameworks for critical infrastructure. The Extreme Fast Charging (EV/XFC) public infrastructure is considered critical infrastructure, which not only powers our electric vehicles but also integrates with the national and regional energy grids and multiple cloud-based systems. Its architectural complexity and operational importance make its cybersecurity resiliency and posture to be greatly important and a high priority.

Why Cybersecurity Matters in EV/XFC

The Electric Vehicle and Extreme Fast Charging (EV/XFC) ecosystem is a critical infrastructure with significant implications for consumers and businesses. The financial stakes are high in this ecosystem. A single cybersecurity breach could erode trust and have a cascading effect on operators’ (CPO) revenue, including a negative effect on electric vehicle adoption rates. In an industry where both trust and reliability are crucial, robust cybersecurity measures are not just a technical requirement but a business necessity.

The NIST framework highlights multiple potential damages to the XFC infrastructure. For instance, disruptions in the power supply, often tied to network vulnerabilities, could leave EV owners stranded, affecting the entire EV/XFC ecosystem. Furthermore, mishandling of sensitive data could lead to high costs due to fines, lawsuits, or compensation to customers while also compromising customer privacy and trust. Additionally, the framework highlights the potential risks involved in the supply chain, which affects the Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE), and requires service providers to identify and mitigate potential supply chain issues.

A Brief Overview of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework

The NIST Cybersecurity Framework is a foundational guide designed to help organizations manage cybersecurity risks effectively. It consists of three main components: the Core, Profiles, and Implementation Tiers. The Core is further divided into five key functions: Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover. These functions provide a high-level, strategic view of an organization’s management of cybersecurity risk.

The NIST EV/XFC Cybersecurity Framework outlines four key missions that serve as guiding principles for charging service providers (Charge Point Operators) and other stakeholders in the EV/XFC ecosystem:

  • Deliver Reliable Performance Through Secure Communications: Ensure that all key components in the EV/XFC ecosystem can communicate securely and detect disruptions and manipulation of the services. This is essential for a smooth and continuous charging experience.
  • Maintain Cyber Resilience of The XFC Infrastructure: Proactively manage the cybersecurity risks and exposure of the EV/XFC equipment and services. A loss of cybersecurity may impact physical security, thus it is crucial to ensure that the XFC ecosystem’s services remain secure and functional.
  • Build and Maintain Trustworthy Relationships with Partners and Customers: Responsibly collect and manage partner and customer data from various sources in the XFC ecosystem while addressing risks across the data lifecycle. Ensuring the security of sensitive information and personal data builds the needed trust with partners and customers.
  • Maintain Continuity of Operations: Monitor for deviations to identify potential cybersecurity events, detect and respond to anomalous behavior, and format a plan for quick recovery after a cyber incident. The organizations account for disruptions through business continuity/contingency planning and implementation of response and recovery plans.

The framework complements existing cybersecurity measures, offering a common language for describing current and target states, identifying improvement opportunities, and communicating risks. It’s designed to be adaptable to an organization’s specific needs and risk profile.

NIST General Cybersecurity Framework steps: Identify, Respond, Detect, Respond, Recover

SaiFlow Provides Comprehensive Coverage for the NIST Framework

At SaiFlow, we’re deeply committed to securing the EV/XFC ecosystem. Our suite of products is designed to align closely with the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, based on our 3 cybersecurity core abilities:

  1. Posture and Risk Management: SaiFlow’s posture and risk management ability aligns with the ‘Identify‘ and ‘Protect‘ functions of the NIST framework. SaiFlow’s solution enables organizations to quickly identify key assets and interfaces, develop and implement a vulnerability management plan, and provide comprehensive automated assessments together with actionable insights for effective risk mitigation.
  2. Continuous Monitoring: Our continuous monitoring solution aligns with both the ‘Protect‘ and ‘Detect‘ functions of the NIST framework. By fusing energy telemetry with network activities, SaiFlow’s solution offers real-time surveillance of network and energy activities, provides full visibility into the charging infrastructure activities, ensures prompt identification of anomalies or potential threats, and enables effective responses to cyber events.
  3. Detection and Prevention: SaiFlow’s advanced detection and prevention mechanisms correspond with the ‘Detect‘ and ‘Respond‘ functions of the NIST framework. SaiFlow’s solution is equipped to identify malicious activities and initiate immediate preventive actions to secure charging sites and networks.

SaiFlow’s cybersecurity platform enables faster response and recovery by providing contextual EV/XFC network data. SaiFlow offers tools for root-cause analysis, research, and incident response, further enhancing the cybersecurity posture and resilience of organizations in the EV/XFC ecosystem.

The NIST EV/XFC Cybersecurity Framework with markings showing coverage by SaiFlow
Coverage of the Framework by SaiFlow – Click to enlarge

Conclusion: The Road Ahead for Cybersecurity in EV/XFC

As the EV/XFC ecosystem continues to expand, the need for strong cybersecurity measures becomes increasingly critical. The NIST Cybersecurity Framework serves as an invaluable guide for Charge Point Operators and other stakeholders, offering a roadmap for securing their operations effectively. At SaiFlow, we’re committed to aligning our suite of products with these best practices, providing solutions that not only bolster cybersecurity but also pave the way for long-term success and resilience.

If you’re interested in learning more about how SaiFlow can help secure your operations, we invite you to contact us. For those who want to dive deeper into the framework, you can read the full NIST Cybersecurity Framework for EV Extreme Fast Charging Infrastructure here.

Together, let’s build a more secure and resilient EV/XFC ecosystem for the future.

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