Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 Become Latest Targets of ‘Game Boy’ Hack

Thieves can steal Hyundai and Kia EVs in mere seconds using a small device resembling a “Game Boy.”

Hyundai and Kia are no strangers to theft issues. In 2022 and 2023, they made headlines when the Kia Boys used low-tech methods, such as a USB charger, to steal base model cars by turning the ignition cylinder. Since then, attacks have become more sophisticated, with thieves targeting Hyundai EVs.

Their tool of choice? A hacking device cleverly disguised as a Nintendo Game Boy.

Reports of stolen Hyundai Ioniq 5s started surfacing late last year. Owners discovered their vehicles missing upon waking up or received notifications on their phones indicating their cars had been unlocked and subsequently couldn’t be tracked through the Hyundai app.

Blame the Game Boy

Technically known as an emulator, this device is essentially a collection of radio transmission hardware packed into a shell resembling Nintendo’s iconic handheld, created by someone in Europe. It has been circulating for a few years, but recent evidence suggests that Hyundai Motor Group EVs are now the primary targets.Here’s how it works: Once the car is awakened by touching the door handle, a handshake protocol initiates between the car and what would typically be the owner’s key fob. The emulator then runs a program that communicates with the car, tricking it into believing it’s a legitimate key. This is achieved through a specific algorithm that calculates the correct code, often within seconds. If the process takes longer, the thief can simply carry the device in their pocket until it vibrates, indicating it has found and stored the correct code for use.

Here’s a video demonstrating a purported theft using this method:

InsideEVs intentionally omits any information on how to acquire this technology as part of this report, focusing solely on alerting owners to its existence.

In the past, more sophisticated technical attacks have included relay attacks, where thieves use devices to extend the range of a key fob, tricking the car into believing the key is near when it’s actually far away—sometimes in another country. Tesla vehicles have also been vulnerable to such attacks, which some may mistakenly associate with incidents involving the Ioniq 5.

This device effectively unlocks the vehicle and serves as a functional key to drive it away. Once the thief is at a safe distance, they may remove the car’s connectivity modules to disable GPS tracking and app-based location services.

According to resellers of the device, models like the Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, and Genesis GV60 can be stolen in a matter of seconds. Other affected models from the Korean automaker include the Kia Niro, Forte, and K5. Several other models may also be vulnerable but require a unique PIN generated using the car’s VIN, which can typically be seen from outside the vehicle.

In a report by Polish media outlet Polsat News, you can witness a demonstration of such a device around the six-minute mark by a journalist and a law enforcement official:

We contacted Hyundai to inquire about their awareness of this specific method used to bypass their theft protections. As of the time of writing, the automaker has not provided any information in response.


  • Ian Sawyer

    Growing up with a father who was a mechanic I had an appreciation for cars and motorcycles from an early age. I shared my first bike with my brother that had little more than a 40cc engine but it opened up a world of excitement for me, I was hooked. As I grew older I progressed onto bigger bikes and...

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