How Are Hyundai Cars Being Stolen? USB Cable Thieves

Have you ever wondered how easy it is to steal a car?

Well, if you own a Hyundai or a Kia model that uses a physical key, you might be shocked to find out that thieves can drive away with your vehicle in less than a minute.

All they need is a screwdriver and a USB cable.

This is the alarming reality that millions of car owners across the U.S. are facing, as a security flaw in these Korean cars has been exposed on TikTok and other social media sites.

READ ALSO: Is My Hyundai at Risk of Being Stolen? Causes, Consequences, and Solutions

How the Theft Method Works

The theft method specifically targets Hyundai and Kia vehicles that have a physical key slot, as opposed to a push-button start.

These vehicles reportedly lack an anti-theft device called an immobilizer, which uses a chip in the key and the steering column to authenticate each other before the engine can start.

Without an immobilizer, thieves can easily bypass the ignition by peeling back the steering column cover and dismantling the key slot.

Then, they can use a USB cable to turn the ignition tumbler, start the vehicle, and release the steering lock.

This allows them to drive away and start the car again at any time using the same cable.

How the Theft Problem Spread

The theft problem started in late 2021, when videos of the so-called “Kia Boyz” went viral on TikTok and other sites.

Kia Boyz are a group of teenage car thieves from Milwaukee, who have been stealing and joyriding in Hyundai and Kia cars.

They have also been posting videos of their exploits, showing how they use the USB cable method to steal the cars.

Since then, the theft problem has spread across the nation, affecting several states and cities.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Hyundai and Kia thefts increased by 85% from 2021 to 2022, and accounted for 12% of all car thefts in the U.S. in 2022.

Some cities, such as Minneapolis, New York, and Denver, have reported that Hyundai and Kia thefts represent more than 60% of their auto theft reports.

How the Automakers and Authorities Are Responding

In response to the theft epidemic, Hyundai and Kia have released a software update in February 2023 that is supposed to fix the security flaw in their vehicles.

The update is available for free for about 8.3 million Hyundai and Kia models dating back to the 2011 model year.

However, the update has not solved the problem completely, as thieves are still targeting and stealing the vehicles at an alarming rate.

Meanwhile, authorities and car owners are taking their own measures to prevent and recover the stolen vehicles.

Some cities, such as New York, have offered owners devices that can track their vehicles if they are stolen.

Owners have resorted to installing aftermarket immobilizers, steering wheel locks, or GPS trackers on their cars.

Some insurers have also dropped or increased the premiums for some Hyundai and Kia models due to the high theft risk.

Why are Hyundais easy to steal?

Hyundais are easy to steal because many of them do not have an anti-theft device called an immobilizer, which prevents the car from starting without the correct key or fob.

Thieves can bypass the ignition by removing the steering column cover and using a USB cable or a screwdriver to turn the ignition cylinder.

This method has been widely shared on social media by a group of car thieves known as the Kia Boyz, who have been stealing and joyriding in Hyundai and Kia cars.

Hyundai and Kia have released a software update to fix the security flaw, but the theft problem still persists.

Conclusion

Hyundai and Kia car owners are facing a serious threat from thieves who can steal their vehicles with just a screwdriver and a USB cable.

This is due to a security flaw in the vehicles that lack an immobilizer, which has been exposed on social media.

The automakers have released a software update to fix the flaw, but the theft problem persists.

Therefore, owners should take extra precautions to protect their cars, such as installing additional anti-theft devices, tracking their vehicles, or switching to a different model.

The theft epidemic also raises questions about the responsibility and accountability of the automakers, the authorities, and the social media platforms in preventing and addressing such issues.

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