Games News

Switch hacked, fixing the vulnerability requires hardware upgrade

Nintendo Switch Nintendo
Nintendo Switch

Nintendo's Switch has been a bona fide saviour for the company, pulling them out of the hole they've dug for themselves with the Wii U. Unfortunately, the Switch has been hacked and it gets worse - it needs a hardware upgrade to fix it.

This is not the malicious sort of hacking we're talking about here, at least not yet as fail0verflow, a well known console hacker revealed "ShofEL2, a Tegra X1 and Nintendo Switch exploit".

As you can see, Nintendo's console is running like a charm with Linux installed, where fail0verflow changes screen brightness and even visits his Youtube channel. You don't have to be a programmer to wonder what else can this exploit be used for then?

Interestingly enough, the issue has been brought to Nvidia's, Nintendo's as well as Google's attention, with the latter perhaps being the most prominent Tegra fan. Unfortunately, the companies neither responded nor reacted.

In what is certainly a text book irony, fail0verflow has given these NDA-loving companies and NDA of his own, trying to ensure that the exploit doesn't end up being used for more malicious purposes. "Choosing whether to release and exploit or not is a difficult choice", he wrote.

However, seeing as how neither showed particular interest in failures of their hardware, fail0verflow released it all. He stressed that the problem is so common and obvious that it was just a matter of time before somebody else did it anyway.

Technically speaking, the exploit utilises a bug in Tegra210's USB-based rescue mode, used for flashing and recovery. While the RCM mode usually allows only signed images to be loaded, the bug allows for execution of any code.

He says that hacking the Switch requires users need to enter RCM mode and execute the exploit. There are numerous ways to go about this, with the most obvious one being what iPhone users refer to as tethered jailbreak.

Ultimately, fixing the exploit requires a hardware upgrade, meaning swapping out Tegra210s for something else, the likelihood of which is very low, if there at all.

If you're interested in learning more, you can do so on fail0verflow's website.

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