Theft of Kia and Hyundai vehicles has nearly tripled this summer. You may be able to trace this trend to a TikTok video in which the self-proclaimed “Kia Boys” showed wannabe daughters how to easily steal certain Kia and Hyundai models. Even though TikTok deleted the original video, police departments and the automaker are still struggling to stem this crime wave.
Who are the Kia boys?
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The term Kia Boys was first used to describe a pair of masked young men who starred in a TikTok video showing how to steal certain Kia cars. When other TikTok users discovered how many years Kia and Hyundai cars were vulnerable to this “hack”, making them easy to steal, the expression “Kia Boys” was expanded. On TikTok, it now refers to anyone stealing multiple Kia or Hyundai cars for pleasure rides or other purposes.
The first explainer video appears to have been shot in Milwaukee. For several months, Milwaukee, Wisconsin was certainly the capital of Kia and Hyundai thefts.
It appeared that TikTok users were responding to a “challenge” to steal a Kia even if they had no use for the car. Many Milwaukee residents reported having their Kia and Hyundai cars stolen even from outside their homes, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The Kia theft trend has spread to many other cities in the US. Back in August 2021, 58 Chicago residents reported having a Kia or Hyundai stolen from them. In August 2022, that number rose to 601. St. Louis reports that Kias and Hyundais account for 48% of all stolen vehicles that year.
Which Kia and Hyundai cars are at risk?
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Authorities report that the Kia’s at risk include some models built from 2011 to 2021. Hyundais only include certain vehicles from 2016 to 2021.
Thieves have found that they can remove the car’s ignition key cylinder and start it using a USB charging cable instead of a key. But to do that, they need to locate a car with a traditional steel key — not a push-to-start. Additionally, cars with a “chip” key should prevent the engine from starting when their enhanced key is not nearby.
That’s why the Kia Boys advised would-be thieves to seek out an entry-level Kia. This means the equipment “LX” across different models.
Is there a solution to the Kia Boys hack?
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Kia claims it solved the “Kia Boys” security loophole, presumably by including a chip key and immobilizer with every car. But Kia owners have reported that their 2022 models are still being stolen.
The automaker reminded the WSJ that “no car can be made theft-proof.” However, responding to a TikTok trend, thieves are looking for an easy-to-steal car. We certainly hope that the Kia/Hyundai company can make their next generation of cars safe enough to defeat the “Kia Boys”.
Next, read how a manual transmission prevented a car theft, or watch Fox News’ investigation into the Kia Boys in the video below:
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