September 23, 2023

Automaker giant Hyundai and KIA released an emergency software update to several of their car models for a vulnerability that made it possible for car thefts to hotwire vehicles using a USB cable.

The update will be offered to 3.8 million Hyundai and 4.5 million KIA vehicles in the US, as per the United States Department of Transportation (NHTSA).

Since last year, hacking cars has evolved and popular in Tiktok. The videos showing how to remove the steering column to reveal a USB-A port that can be used to hotwire the car went viral on the platform, eventually becoming a “challenge” on the Social Media platform.


The KIA Challenge had an impact so significant that in Los Angeles, the two car manufacturers had an 85% increase in thefts in 2022 compared to the previous year.

The initial Hyundai upgrade started on February 14th, and it will be available for more than 1 million 2017-2020 Elantra, 2015-2019 Sonata, and 2020-2021 Venue model years.

The second rollout for below will be completed until June 2023:

  • 2018-2022 Accent
  • 2011-2016 Elantra
  • 2021-2022 Elantra
  • 2018-2020 Elantra GT
  • 2011-2014 Genesis Coupe
  • 2018-2022 Kona
  • 2020-2021 Palisade
  • 2013-2018 Santa Fe Sport
  • 2013-2022 Santa Fe
  • 2019 Santa Fe XL
  • 2011-2014 Sonata
  • 2011-2022 Tucson
  • 2012-2017, 2019 2021 Veloster

The free upgrade will be available for installation at Hyundai’s official dealers and service network in the U.S. and it will take less than an hou

The software update will modify the “turn-key-to-start” logic to kill the ignition when the doors are locked with the key fob.


Once after the update, the ignition will activate only if the key fob is used to unlock the vehicle. For the models with no engine immobilizers that won’t receive the update, Hyundai will cover the cost of steering wheel locks for their owners.

With respect to KIA, no information on patch has been released.

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