Shell Recharge security lapse exposed EV drivers’ data


Oil giant Shell said it is investigating after a security researcher found an exposed internal database spilling the personal information of drivers who use the company’s electric vehicle charging stations.

Security researcher Anurag Sen found a database online that contained close to a terabyte of logging data relating to Shell Recharge, the company’s worldwide network of hundreds of thousands of electric vehicle charging stations, which it acquired in part from Greenlots in 2019. Greenlots provided electric vehicle (EV) charging services and technology for customers operating vehicle fleets.

The internal database, hosted on Amazon’s cloud, contained millions of logs, said Sen, including details about customers who used the EV charging network. The database had no password, allowing anyone on the internet to access its data from their web browser.

The data, seen by TechCrunch, contained names, email addresses, and phone numbers of fleet customers who use the EV charging network. The database included the names of fleet operators, which identified organizations — such as police departments — with vehicles that recharge on the network. Some of the data included vehicle identification numbers, or VINs.

Sen said the database also contained the locations of Shell’s EV charging stations, including private residential charging points. One of the exposed records seen by TechCrunch contained a residential address belonging to Greenlots CEO Andreas Lips.

It’s not clear what resulted in the database becoming publicly exposed, or how long the data was public — though some of the information is as recent as 2023.

Sen said he contacted Shell after discovering the exposed database. TechCrunch alerted Shell after Sen said he did not hear back from the company. A short time after TechCrunch contacted Shell, the database became inaccessible.

Shell spokesperson Anna Arata told TechCrunch in a statement: “Shell has taken steps to contain and identify an exposure of Shell Recharge Solutions data. We are investigating the incident, continue to monitor our IT systems, and will take any necessary future actions accordingly.”

Sen has previously found exposed data belonging to Amazon, Hotai Motor, PeopleGrove, and JusTalk. Earlier this year, Sen discovered a database containing sensitive U.S. military emails belonging to U.S. Special Operations Command.





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