Hyundai and Kia have both developed theft deterrent software for millions of vehicles that are lacking an immobilizer. They will be providing this software free of charge to vehicle owners. This software will update the alarm, causing the alarm sound to last a minute instead of 30 seconds, and it will require the key to be in the ignition switch to turn the vehicle on.
This campaign is in response to a TikTok challenge that has spread throughout the nation, which targets Hyundai’s and Kia’s. The challenge highlights a design vulnerability in some of the Hyundai and Kia vehicles which allows the ignition switch to be by-passed by a USB cable. Kia’s that are most affected by this are models between 2010-2021 and Hyundai’s between 2015-2021. Thieves will generally break out a window to gain access to the car, and after exposing the steering column will fit a USB-A cable into a matching plug. Hyundai and Kia vehicles that have a push-button ignition already have theft preventative measures in place and do not have this issue.
Hyundai and Kia have both made multiple software updates to help protect owners and their vehicles from thieves. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the United States Department of Transportation are urging owners of vehicles in the above mentioned years to contact Hyundai (toll-free 800-633-5151) or Kia (toll-free at 800-333-4542) for more information on the free update. Vehicle owners may also contact local dealers for more information.
“I urge Hyundai and Kia owners to contact their local auto dealer or call the toll-free numbers to obtain the software update to protect your vehicles from thieves,” said Sheriff Rick Staly. “We have had these cars stolen locally and have recovered stolen Kias and Hyundais from other jurisdictions in Flagler County. We also encourage you to purchase a steering wheel lock bar and use it every time you leave your car. And remember, never leave your keys in your car.”