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Hyundai & Kia Build Software To Protect Cars From Theft Ignited By Viral Trend


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hyundai-kia-car-thefts-1676449261.jpg Left image: Photo 51047975 © Tktktk | Dreamstime.com, Right image: Photo 91193143 © Jonathan Weiss | Dreamstime.com


Last year, a trend on social media taught and encouraged youths to break into Hyundai and Kia cars due to a fault in the vehicles’ system that allowed just a USB wire and screwdriver for someone to break in. The flaw in the vehicle exists as the company’s cars do not have an immobilizer to prevent the engine from starting without a key. As a result, thieves, most notably a crew known as the “Kia boyz”, could pull the plastic off under the steering wheel and use a USB cable to turn the ignition cylinder. Several group videos were published online, sparking a movement of others testing the theory. According to the Chicago Police Department, auto theft shot up 767% in August after the trend emerged. It also, unfortunately, resulted in 14 crashes and eight deaths due to reckless joy-riding in the stolen vehicles. Hyundai and Kia are now providing a solution to the issue with a system update that locks down the car’s engine. Once the doors are locked, it will set the factory alarm and activate the “ignition kill” feature. In order to disable this feature, the key fob must be used. Per the National Highway Traffic Safety Adminstration, the update is first rolling out to one million vehicles before a wider release is sent out to four million users in June.   [via PC Mag and Reuters, images via various sources]

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