Nintendo has received some very alarming news, at least for the company, as hacking groups have found a way to hack the console’s system through a bug in the processor chip, meaning this bug is not fixable via firmware updates. Speculation has suggested that third parties will now release Switch hardware mods like modchips to assist the ongoing jailbreak in the system.
This hack could allow users to jailbreak their Switch consoles, and one of the two reported independent hacking groups have already been using this to run a Linux ported version on the console. Running Linux home-based brewed apps has been the main focus of the recent hacks to the console, which go back as far as February.
Where exactly is the exploit that allows the Switch to be hacked?
The flaw lies on the Nintendo Switch’s Tegra processor’s USB recovery mode, which happens to be easily overflowed by hackers by simply using a computer via USB connectors. According to the Eurogamer reports, hacks allow users to exploit a specific hardware flaw in order to access the console’s operating system. This means that around 14 million hardware pieces are susceptible to hacks.
These exploits can be used to run custom apps, and in some cases even run a fully enabled touch version of Linux with 3D support. This could affect not only Nintendo users but also Nvidia and Google since this same Switch exploit could be used on Google’s Pixel C tablet and the Nvidia Shield. This exploit was revealed by console hacker fail0verflow who notified all 3 companies.
Behind the scenes with the hackers who unlocked the Nintendo Switch https://t.co/bFxAsWtFUq by @KyleOrl
— Ars Technica (@arstechnica) April 25, 2018
How does the hacking potential affect Nintendo?
Nintendo has been put on a tight spot, as the company is now in a situation in which they are basically down to the option of recalling the consoles sold until now once the bug is fixed in a newer version of the hardware, or simply get to the eventual release of a new “flawless” version of the Switch console. The first option is deemed as very unlikely, while the second one has been already hinted by the company.
However, this exploit is allowing many users to access probable malware and exposure to undesired content (if they were to jailbreak), and also the inevitable use of software piracy. Nevertheless, this exploit is still at an early stage of development, but due to the low-level access of the hack, it doesn’t really matter what software updates and protection measures Nintendo tries to install.
This problem presents a challenge for Nintendo as exploit users have been making public comments on how to break into the system, but the company’s main concern is the endorsement of piracy.