Due to a flaw, hotwiring is very simple in 2010–2021 model-year Kia and Hyundai automobiles. Vehicles during that period lacked standard engine immobilisers, the electronic security systems that prevent ignition until they have detected a transponder from the key fob carried by the owner. At least 1,600 or more Kia and Hyundai vehicles were stolen in 2022 than in 2021, representing an 80% increase.That’s roughly 75% of the rise in stolen autos in L.A. this year. Car thefts are up 17%, or 2,300 vehicles.

This was inspired by a TikTok challenge “Kia Boyz”, showing the impact social media can have, particularly on younger generations. Kids between the ages of 11 and 17 who use TikTok, in particular, steal these vehicles in order to join the ranks of other cool (brainless) tiktokers and become instantly popular. These kids can easily steal Kia by using a USB thanks to a number of tutorials available on Tiktok and Google.

What is Kia ‘USB Challenge’?

In the video, it is clearly shown that a USB drive is required in order to start a previously unlocked Kia. Model years 2011-2021 for Kias and 2015-2021 for Hyundais are impacted. Both South Korean automakers have USB ports hidden below the steering wheel cover. The police in Norfolk said that a USB cable may be used to start a Kia or Hyundai.

In the United States, car thefts of Kia and Hyundai models are rising rapidly. By posting these TikTok Clips, individuals hope to get exposure and popularity. A USB stick, rather than a vehicle key, may be used to start and operate a Kia or Hyundai for up to one minute. USB ports are buried behind the steering wheel cover on both South Korean vehicles. According to the police, a USB cable might be used to start a Kia or Hyundai. Car thefts of Kia and Hyundai models are on the rise in the United States. TikTokers intend to get fame and enormous popularity by posting these videos.

The video clearly shows that a USB drive is required to start a previously unlocked Kia. After connecting the USB, Theif has complete control of the vehicle and can drive without any issue. Kia vehicles such as the Optima, Forte, and Sportage were suspected to be the most vulnerable to the ‘Kia Boys’ car theft trend.

In its defence, Kia claims that all vehicles sold in the United States after 2022 will have a security immobilizer feature.

Might Be Interested

How can I avoid having my Kia stolen?

There are a number of things you can do to keep your car from being stolen. For example, putting in anti-theft devices like immobilisers or alarms can help keep thieves away. Also, parking your car inside your house or garage can make it less likely that someone will steal it.

Detective Eric Schoonover claims that buying a steering wheel lock is the key to prevention. He says that criminals can turn off the ignition in KIA and Hyundai cars made between 2015 and 2022 because of certain flaws.

If you want to prevent automobile theft, Ricart suggests these three measures:

  • To park inside
  • Don’t forget to secure your car!
  • Buy a steering lock.

Class Action Lawsuits Against Hyundai And Kia Are Stacking Up!!

Vehicle owners in at least 7 states have filed lawsuits alleging that USB cables can be used to remotely start their vehicles. Class-action lawsuits were also filed on behalf of Kia and Hyundai customers in Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, and Texas.

According to the St. Louis Police Department, a total of 1,000 vehicles were reported stolen in July. Of those, 301 were Hyundais and 333 were Kias. About two-thirds of all vehicles taken in July can be attributed to this. Thefts of cars without immobilisers are on the rise, and police say that thieves are breaking the windows and using USB cables to start the engines.

Steve Zanmiller, the owner of a Kia Sportage, claimed that Kia and Hyundai had sold vehicles without disclosing to buyers that they lacked engine immobilisers, electrical devices designed to prevent theft by hot-wiring. Thieves can easily steal an automobile if they can remove the key fob and replace it with a USB drive, knife, or other small item that can turn the ignition.

Wisconsin ‘ABC affiliate WISN reports that, in response to legal threats from the city, automakers have begun providing free steering wheel locks to customers. WISN also adds that the city is on course to have 10,000 car thefts for the year, which would be more than double the total from 2021 and three times the amount from 2019.