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Did my car just get hacked?

I had a young guy come to my door and ask for a jump start to his car. He said his battery didn’t last long and he was almost home. He hooked up his cables to my battery, asked me to turn on my car. Then he just waited and looked at something on his dash or phone. I asked if he was going to start his car and he said no, he just needed a little charge, then after a minute he unhooked the cables and said he was good to go. He started his car up and left. Does that make any sense? I don’t understand how his car would die on the way home unless his alternator is dead, and in that event, I can’t imagine one minute of charging would get him going. I also don’t know how a thief would gain anything from hooking jumper cables up to a battery. Anybody have any thoughts?? My car is a '16 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid.

Kinda of odd to need a jump like that, usually you find someone in a parking lot with their hood up looking for help.

Sometimes the cables resistance is high and you can’t pull enough from the donor car in an instant, but over a few minutes ‘trickle’ charge the dead battery. This kid may have done this before and knew the trick to get his car started.

Nothing to be gained by reading your battery voltage.

Kids these days (and old folks like me) stare at their phone while waiting.

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I doubt if you were hacked. Now you helping a stranger was nice but I do not jump anyones vehicle or let them jump mine. The chance of cause hundreds of dollars worth of electrical damage is not a risk I will take. A roadside service will do that for about 25.00 .

I assume he started his car before he unhooked the cables? Your description makes it sound like he disconnected the cables and then started his car. That’s fishy.

He used your car to provide a shallow charge on his battery so he could drive for another mile or two with his failing charging system.


Sounds weird for sure but there in nothing to be learned or gained through the jumper cables. The only reason i can think as to why he didn’t start the car right then is the battery really wasn’t dead and he had some other nefarious plans which he abandoned. I Don’t know but I’m glad you are safe… Being a good citizen can be risky these days. Btw Unless “you” know exactly what your doing i would never jump someone or let them hook up the cables… serious damage to your vehicle can happen not to mention serious injury to your person…

The young guy knew his battery was weak, probably so weak that it can’t hold a charge

and he’s already been through this procedure several times, that’s why it seemed routine for him

I will say this . . . on some vehicles, it’s much simpler to just allow the dead battery to accept a charge for a few minutes, versus trying to actually jump start it

I seriously doubt the young guy had anything devious in mind

Maybe he’s just too broke to buy a new battery at this point . . . it’s not a crime to be poor

I drove 200 miles home from school once with a bad generator. It was at night even so needed the lights. I had to stop at a truck stop half way to get my battery charged and have a hamburger. When I pulled in at home, my lights were very dim again. A $10 junk yard generator took care of it the next day. I think they charged me a dollar and 75 cents for the hamburger. So yeah agree with db4690. No harm no fowl, except now your battery needs a boost.

And the fact that he looked at his phone isn’t a problem. That’s pretty much automatic these days when someone has time to kill.


Thanks for all of your replies. I felt like a whacko asking if my car was hacked, but the whole thing was so fishy it was making my stomach turn. Thank you for settling me down.

Maybe not so whacko. Even 23 years ago we lay people were concerned about what the computer wizards could do to us:

Systems are hackable because the programmers designing the systems either don’t know how to make them secure, or don’t care or (this is reason most aren’t) management doesn’t want to pay for the costs up front. My company designs very secure systems with 256bit encryption.Fifty supercomputers that could check a billion billion (10^18) AES keys per second (if such a device could ever be made) would, in theory, require about 3×10^51 years to exhaust the 256-bit key space. That’s a 3 followed by 51 zeros.

The problem is companies - security is an after thought. It needs to be designed into the system before the first bit of code is written.