Los Angeles has been facing a raft of issues with cars lately. There are the street takeovers, the intermittent closing of the Sixth Street Viaduct, and impounding spectator cars that show up to any takeover. An uptick in Hyundai and Kia thefts has prompted the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) to issue a community alert.
According to KTLA, Hyundai and Kia vehicles account for 20% of car thefts in Los Angeles this year compared to 13% in 2021. The increase is attributed to a technique popularized in viral social media posts. All it involves is some basic tools and a USB cable.
Push button ignition does not fall victim to this bizarrely easy entry method popularized by a group called the Kia Boys. The Drive’s Rob Stumpf reported on the hack in detail and reported that these thefts have increased since earlier this year. Most importantly, cars that use physical keys are susceptible to this unfortunate theft.
The phenomenon seems to be a social media sensation, and that popularity means cars are legitimately getting stolen. In nearly every major metro, Hyundai and Kia cars are stolen in a more significant proportion, indicating a genuine problem. The solutions are decidedly low-tech.
The LAPD provided tips to any owners of the affected cars.
- Install a battery disconnect switch
- Install a kill switch, which may require a professional installation
- Lock all windows and doors
- Park in a well-lit area
- Park in a secured location like a garage or a parking structure
- Install a GPS tracking device
Steering wheel locks are also recommended anti-theft devices by Hyundai and Kia. A few items on this list aren’t always possible for Angelenos and present an inconvenience that would be otherwise solved by adequate security from Hyundai and Kia in the first place.
Both Hyundai and Kia are working to find a solution for affected vehicle owners, including steering wheel locks and security kits that secure the car from this vulnerability. Owners of these Hyundai and Kia models may consider bulking up security if possible and prevent theft from happening. There is no word on updated parts to tackle the issue from a fundamental perspective.
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