Hyundai and Kia issue free anti-theft software updates after TikTok challenge led to rise in car thefts

 The Hyundai logo is displayed on a Hyundai Santa Fe SUV
(Image credit: Justin Sullivan / Staff/ Getty Images)

Hyundai and Kia are issuing free anti-theft software updates for several models in response to a rash of auto thefts related to a TikTok challenge, The Associated Press reports. Authorities believe the trend "has led to at least 14 reported crashes and eight fatalities."

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that the "Kia Challenge" has led to hundreds of car thefts across the country. The trend began in 2021 when suspected car thieves known as "the Kia Boyz" started posting "instructional videos about how to bypass the vehicles' security system using tools as simple as a USB cable," The Verge writes. The cars were reportedly easy to break into "because many 2015-2019 Hyundai and Kia vehicles lack electronic immobilizers that prevent thieves from simply breaking in and bypassing the ignition," per The Verge.

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