Kia, Hyundai Upgrade Security Following TikTok Challenge That Encourages Theft
At long last, Kia and Hyundai are rolling out software updates to put a stop to theft of their cars that had become a trend last year, thanks to a TikTok challenge.It apparently started when a user showed how to hotwire certain Kia and Hyundai models using nothing more than a USB cable to bypass the ignition switch. This video sparked a viral “Kia Challenge” that encouraged viewers to try it for themselves and an unusual spike in car thefts followed, which authorities attributed to the social media trend.
According to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were at least 14 crashes and eight fatalities related to the trend as teenagers ages 12 to 17 rose up to the challenge and got into accidents as they attempted to escape in the stolen vehicle.
@noticenewsDo not try this trend! 🚫
Videos showing both the crime-in-progress, shot by the perpetrators themselves, and owners whose car got stolen also trended on the social media platform, with some gaining millions of views.
The models affected are by both Hyundai and Kia and between 2015 to 2019. These vehicles do not have an electric immobiliser, which most vehicles made since the 2000s do, which is why they can be hotwired. The latest (and long overdue) software patch overcomes this by requiring the car key to be in the ignition switch for the vehicle to be turned on and extending the sound of the alarm from 30 seconds to one minute.
Kia also offered steering wheel locks to affected owners. So, it’s old school ways to protect old school cars. Makes sense, really.