Hyundai and Kia Release a Software Update to Counter TikTok Challenge Thieves

For some of their cars, Hyundai and Kia are deploying a software update to prevent an auto theft style that has recently gained popularity on TikTok.

Four million Hyundai Elantra, Sonata, and Venue owners will receive the patch, with additional upgrades planned for the near future.

According to a news release from Randy Parker, CEO of Hyundai Motor America, “Hyundai is pleased to offer affected customers with this software upgrade an additional theft deterrent as part of its commitment to ensuring the quality and integrity of our goods via continuous improvement.” We prioritized the upgrade’s accessibility for owners and lessees of our best-selling vehicles and the ones that criminals target the most so that dealers may provide the upgrade to them immediately.

The software update comes months after an automobile accident in Buffalo that claimed the lives of four adolescents. According to law authorities, the accident was related to a TikTok challenge that demonstrated how users might hotwire cars by exploiting an issue with their electronic ignition switch. The automobile won’t start after the upgrade unless the keys are in the ignition switch.

Press release excerpt:

“Certain vehicle control modules on Hyundai vehicles with common “turn-key-to-start” ignition systems are modified by the software upgrade. Locking the doors using the key fob sets the factory alarm and engages an “ignition kill” mechanism to stop the vehicles from being started in the common theft mode. Customers can disable the “ignition kill” feature by using the key fob to unlock their cars.”