Details of Kia Boyz breaching car security as Kia Challenge on TikTok

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Over the past couple of years, a peculiar social media trend known as the Kia Challenge has gained traction on various platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Telegram, and WhatsApp. This challenge involves a group of thieves called the Kia Boyz, who promote an instructional video link guiding viewers to YouTube and TikTok. The video provides instructions on how to bypass the security systems of Hyundai and Kia cars using a basic USB cable that can be easily obtained from online platforms like Amazon.

Unfortunately, this social media trend has resulted in a significant increase in car thefts across the United States, prompting both Hyundai and Kia, renowned automotive companies, to take the matter seriously. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there have been 14 documented crashes with in-car video evidence and 8 fatalities caused by these faulty security systems. In Milwaukee alone, 469 Kias and 429 Hyundais were stolen in 2020, and the numbers skyrocketed in the following year to 3,577 Kias and 3,406 Hyundais, as reported by NPR.

In response to these alarming incidents, Hyundai and Kia have agreed to pay a substantial amount of $200 million to compensate their customers in America who fell victim to the TikTok Car theft Challenge. This payment aims to settle the class action lawsuit filed against both companies for their failure to assemble electronic immobilizers that can withstand infiltration through a simple cable and certain commands, thereby overriding the ignition system effortlessly. The settlement applies to approximately 9 million vehicles manufactured between 2015 and 2019 that lack push-button ignition systems and effective anti-immobilizers.

While it remains uncertain who will receive compensation, sources indicate that individuals who incurred out-of-pocket losses due to stolen vehicles will be eligible for reimbursement. This recent initiative by Hyundai and Kia demonstrates their commitment to prioritizing customer security and satisfaction, setting them apart from other companies that solely focus on maximizing profits.

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Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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