We always have mixed feelings sharing a video about how a criminal act is committed. But at this point, the “Kia Boys” TikTok challenge is a huge crime wave, and by fully exposing it, Donut Media is actually doing more good than harm.
Even if you don’t own a Kia or Hyundai, you’ve probably heard about this crime wave that’s been going on for quite some time. Kids have been hacking into cars with nothing more than a screwdriver and a USB cable, going for joyrides, and often wrecking people’s vehicles.
Now, we already know how this is done, but Donut Media is probably the largest YouTube channel to ever discuss this. Thieves have been ripping apart the plastic on the transmission tunnel. After that, they use the screwdriver to force the ignition cylinder off. That’s the bit you stick your key into.
The inside of the USB is then the perfect shape to turn the ignition on. There’s no data transfer or actual “hacking”, just a convenient everyday object used instead of the key. At this point, you’re probably thinking that it shouldn’t be that simple, and you’re right.
I remember how in the old days, you took the radio with you and installed a steering wheel locker before leaving your car because they were easier to steal. But that hasn’t been necessary for a while now because most cars have microchips inside their keys. If the computer doesn’t receive a special signal from your fob, the steering is locked.
Those cars can be stolen as well, but the technology required is more advanced, whereas here you’re talking about thousands of young delinquents with no experience. In their video, Donut Media is implying that it’s Kia’s fault for basically two reasons.
First, the cars should have had chipped keys. Kia argues this isn’t mandatory, but all their cars apparently have them in Canada, but not the US. We don’t know exactly what it would have cost them to install this feature, but an auto locksmith usually replaces them for $75 to $200, depending on the vehicle.
Donut also explains that it’s way too easy to get to the ignition barrel. Using an old Volkswagen Golf Cabrio, they show how the same piece is located much lower on the steering column.
So is your car affected? A lawsuit has been filed in August 2022 against Hyundai Motors America and Kia America, and it says the 2011 to 2021 models are at risk because they don’t have immobilizers. Hyundai has stated that immobilizers have become standard in their cars after November 1st, 2021, while Kia stated all its 2022MY vehicles have them.
We’ve learned that Hyundai dealerships have a retrofit security kit available after October 1st, 2022, which is also available through Compustar. However, the money is coming out of your pocket unless you can negotiate a deal.
I highly recommend watching the second video at the bottom of this story. YouTuber Tommy G went to Milwaukee, where it all started, and talked to some real-life Kia Boys.