OCPP Protocol: Security Threats and Challenges

Cristina Alcaraz, Javier Lopez, Stephen Wolthusen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One benefit postulated for the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) is their ability to act as stabilizing entities in smart grids through bidirectional charging, allowing local or global smoothing of peaks and imbalances. This benefit, however, hinges indirectly on the reliability and security of the power flows thus achieved. Therefore, this paper studies key security properties of the already-deployed Open Charge Point Protocol specifying communication between charging points and energy management systems. It is argued that possible subversion or malicious endpoints in the protocol can also lead to destabilization of power networks. While reviewing these aspects, we focus, from a theoretical and practical standpoint, on attacks that interfere with resource reservation originating with the EV, which may also be initiated by a man in the middle, energy theft, or fraud. Such attacks may even be replicated widely, resulting in over- or under-shooting of power network provisioning, or the (total/partial) disintegration of the integrity and stability of power networks.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2452-2459
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Smart Grid
Issue number5
Early online date15 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2017


  • Smart grid, charging infrastructure, cyber- physical systems, cyber security, OCPP

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