A long overdue software update will provide 8.3 million Hyundai and Kia vehicles with additional anti-theft protection in the U.S., after an exploit was spread on social media channels starting last year.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s statement, individuals were stealing vehicles as part of a TikTok challenge, using a method that started the car without a key. The agency also revealed that the social media trend had “resulted in at least 14 reported crashes and eight fatalities.” The new anti-theft measures will increase the duration of the car alarm and take away keyless ignition on affected models.
Of the 8.3 million vehicles receiving the anti-theft update, 3.8 million were made by Hyundai, while the remaining 4.5 million were built by Kia. The patch is expected to arrive in two waves, the first of which will apply to 1 million 2017-2020 Elantra sedans, 2020-2021 Venue SUVs and 2015-2019 Sonata sedans. The second update will arrive for the remaining 7.3 million vehicles before this June.
Many car owners are often forced to develop anti-theft measures far before automakers. Car parts, such as the catalytic converter, can be easily accessed, quickly removed and sell for thousands at scrapyards. Reports from the National Insurance Crime Bureau indicate several forms of theft are on the rise. Earlier this year, the organization, and several others, urged YouTube to remove tutorials demonstrating the same exploit Hyundai and Kia are seeking to fix. With vehicle prices and insurance rates hitting all time highs, automakers should seek to develop better methods to protect their client’s investments. Limiting simple oversights can go a long way to preventing theft and unnecessary headache.
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