DRIVERS have been warned about a 'deadly' car theft hack that has been shared on social media.
Hyundai and Kia will issue software updates to owners of 8.3million cars after a method of stealing them circulated on TikTok.
The "Kia Challenge" revealed that it's possible to remove the steering column covering on some Hyundai and Kia models by force, exposing a slot that fits a USB-A plug, The Register reported.
Turning the plug activates its ignition, allowing thieves to drive away.
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Thefts of these vehicles caused at least 14 crashes and eight deaths in the US, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The viral videos on TikTok lead to a huge increase in thefts of vulnerable models in many countries.
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And both car-makers have announced that they will update their car software to stop this trend.
Hyundai said that the upgrade would be carried out by dealers and take less than an hour to finish.
A spokesperson from Hyundai informed: "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 vehicles cannot be started when subjected to the popularized theft mode."
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The update will be installed free of charge on vulnerable models and will require a key in the ignition to start the vehicle.
And the software will block the car from being started after the doors have been locked using the key fob remote control.
Kia hasn't published specific details for its campaign but will likely roll out the fix on a similar timeline.
This fix couldn't come soon enough, as many owners have lost their insurance coverage due to this issue.
Only cars that use keys are susceptible to the hack.
And press-to-start vehicles – which rely on radio signals from a fob to allow engine start – are immune to the attack because they don't have the mechanical elements that make this exploit possible.
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