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Hyundai and Kia patch vulnerabilities revealed by TikTok

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Hyundai and Kia released software updates to counter car thefts inspired by the Kia Challenge on TikTok. Hyundai has updated the theft alarm software logic to increase the length of the alarm sound from 30 seconds to a minute.

Hyundai and Kia will update the software free of charge for vehicles that lack an immobilizer. Also, the vehicles are updated, so you will need a key in the ignition switch to turn on the said vehicle.

In this challenge, users post instructions on TikTok to bypass the vehicle’s security system using simple tools such as a USB cable. According to the data published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the United States Department of Transportation, as many as 14 reported crashes and eight fatalities due to this challenge.

“The software upgrade modifies certain vehicle control modules on Hyundai vehicles equipped with standard ‘turn-key-to-start’ ignition systems.  As a result, locking the doors with the key fob will set the factory alarm and activate an ‘ignition kill’ feature so the vehicle cannot be started when subjected to the popularized theft mode.  Customers must use the key fob to unlock their vehicles to deactivate the ‘ignition kill’ feature,” said Hyundai.

Kia is a subsidiary of Hyundai

Owners of 2017-2010 Elantra, 2015-2019 Sonata, and 2020-2021 Venue vehicles are eligible for this week’s updates. Other models like the Kona, Palisade and Santa Fe will receive updates from June 2023. Customers can visit and look up their vehicle’s VIN to determine whether they are eligible for this free update. As per Hyundai, the upgrades can be performed at any Hyundai dealership and takes less than an hour for installation.

Furthermore, Hyundai is working with law enforcement to provide more than 26,000 steering wheel locks to customers. If you are a Hyundai owner, you can contact local law enforcement to see if a wheel lock is available. In November last year, researchers found bugs in Hyundai and Genesis cars, allowing a complete takeover of the vehicles.

Last month it was found that API vulnerabilities were present in more than 20 car companies worldwide

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Kumar Hemant

Kumar Hemant

Deputy Editor at Candid.Technology. Hemant writes at the intersection of tech and culture and has a keen interest in science, social issues and international relations. You can contact him here: