Hyundai Pushes Software Update to Combat Theft

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

Most of our readers will recall learning about the specter of people discovering – then explaining in detail – just how easy it is to steal some Hyundai and Kia products. Now, workers from the mothership have apparently come up with a solution, one which involves a simple software upgrade.

We won’t go into detail on the exact steps thieves take when stealing one of these cars, other than to say it involves little more than the business end of a USB cable and good access to the ignition cylinder. Even that sentence is likely to send VerticalScope’s bed-wetting lawyers into a tizzy. Nevertheless, at issue seems to be a combination of keyed ignition and a lack of immobilizing anti-theft devices.

The fix? A simple software upgrade, as it turns out. The change modifies specific vehicle control modules on certain Hyundai vehicles equipped with ignition systems that require a key. With the new lines of code, locking its doors with the key fob will set a factory alarm and activate an "ignition kill" feature, meaning the car cannot be started when subjected to the popular theft process involving USB cables. Customers must unlock their vehicles with the fob to deactivate the ignition kill and enable the car to start.

Why this wasn’t part of the initial computer programming is beyond us, but hindsight is always 20/20 and the company says all Hyundai vehicles produced since November 2021 are equipped with an engine immobilizer as standard equipment. The software upgrade will be launched as a service campaign for a total of almost 4 million vehicles beginning this week, rolling out first to more than a million rigs including the 2017-2020 Elantra, 2015-2019 Sonata, and 2020-2021 Venue vehicles. The fix is scheduled to be available for other affected vehicles this summer.

Affected customers will be notified by Hyundai and given instructions about bringing their vehicle to a Hyundai dealership and getting the free software installed. They’ve also set up a website [] where owners can check their car’s VIN and, if required, set up an appointment.

[Image: Hyundai]

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Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Feb 16, 2023

    Not to repeat myself, repeat myself, but you can't blindly buy any 'brand' -- you gotta go by model, and in this case by trim.

  • Rgr65720965 Rgr65720965 on May 16, 2023

    Campaign 993 update "Bricked" by 2011 Elantra GLS Sedan. Tomorrow is 2 weeks still no resolution. Authorized a rental car after Day 3... today is day 13. Was told by service department that a new Body Control Module is needed but no longer manufactured (found several online but not sure why they can order one). Original owner paid off for several years use vehicle to get to work this is very upsetting. I would advise to wait for this update until they work the bugs out.

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