If you have a Hyundai or Kia car, update the software immediately

A flaw in the code of Hyundai and Kia cars allows thieves to take your car with just a USB cable. Update the software immediately.

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Automakers Hyundai and KIA are rolling out a software update for many of their car models that are affected by an easy hack that makes it possible to steal them with a USB cable.

The method of stealing cars involves those that have a button in the ignition instead of a key, and it has gone viral in America through a related video on TikTok where real thieves demonstrate how they can grab them.

In fact, hacking these cars has been promoted since July 2022 on TikTok as a "challenge", with videos showing how to remove the steering column cover to reveal a hidden USB-A socket that can be used to connect car.

The problem lies in a logical flaw that allows you to bypass the immobilizer that verifies the authenticity of the key code in the car's ECU. This allows thieves to turn on the ignition and start the car using any USB cable.

The impact of the so-called 'Kia Challenge' was so great in Los Angeles, the two brands had a sharp increase in thefts in 2022 by 85% in thefts compared to the previous year, while Chicago reported a 900% increase.

The United States Department of Transportation (NHTSA) published a post yesterday explaining that the safety defect affects approximately 3,8 million Hyundai vehicles and 4,5 million KIA vehicles. The agency also said these hacks resulted in at least 14 confirmed traffic accidents and eight deaths.

After all this the Hyundai car manufacturer she said in a statement: “In response to increasing thefts targeting push-button vehicles and bypassing anti-theft devices in the United States, Hyundai is introducing a free software update to prevent vehicles from starting during a theft method that has been popularized on TikTok and other social media channels networking".

The software upgrade will be provided free of charge for all affected vehicles, which are:

2018-2022 Accent
2011-2016 Elantra
2017-2020 Elantra
2021-2022 Elantra
2018-2020 Elantra GT
2011-2014 Genesis Coupe
2018-2022 Kona
2020-2021 Palisade
2013-2018 Santa Fe Sport
2013-2022 Santa Fe
2019 Santa Fe XL
2011-2014 Sonata
2015-2019 Sonata
2011-2022 Tucson
2012-2017 Veloster
2019-2021 Veloster
2020-2021 Venue

The announcement explains that the software upgrade will only allow ignition if the key fob is used to unlock the vehicle's doors.

Hyundai will also supply customers with a window sticker that will make it clear to would-be thieves that the car's software has been upgraded, to counter social media-promoted hacking by discouraging any attempt.

KIA has also promised to start rolling out its software upgrade soon, but has yet to release any announcements with specific dates or details.

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Written by Dimitris

Dimitris hates on Mondays .....

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