Nintendo Modifies The Switch Console To Deter Hackers

There are folks out there that enjoy a challenge and sometimes hacking is done for the purity of knowledge and discovery, and other times it’s for the benefit of cheats or alternative revenue. As of right now, the Nintendo Switch is a hot ticket hardware for modders and pirates to tinker with. Nintendo debuted their hybrid console with several security measures already in place, but adept minds were quick to find work-arounds. That doesn’t mean they’re going to let it fly.

A few users over at Resetera reported a finding that points to newly implemented hardware in the latest retail units of the Nintendo Switch. Thus, making it difficult for hackers to pry their way in successfully with homebrew methods. This time around, the big N supposedly altered the Tegra chip manufactured by Nvidia, a hardware that’s held a long-standing security issue. With this alteration, it seems both companies have stepped up to the plate to resolve this flaw once and for all. Well, at least try to anyway.

According to community member Vena, this is how it all breaks down:

As many know, nVidia had an “oopise” with 10-years worth of SoCs which suffered from an unpatchable, critical bootloader flaw that allowed arbitrary code to be run in recovery mode (RCM) at boot, forfeiting any security on the system. This flaw affected the entire Tegra line and its predecessors going back 10 years. (As many have failed to properly delineate, RCM is not the actual flaw. It is just a standard recovery mode for fixing broken Switches.)

This flaw was found in the Switch by fail0veflow and reported last year. This flaw led to a boom in homebrew progress and development, but of course this allowed for malware piracy groups to create and market piracy mod-chips to load payloads at boot in RCM and hjack the system. And roughly 18million switches are vulnerable to that flaw. (This has resulted in large ban waves for pirates, some bricked switches from stupid people bridging the wrong pins and frying their motherboards, to DRMed piracy dongles with stolen community code and brickcode in them… because why not? To all sorts of other nonsense and bullshit, such as hacking. And of course, a lot of emulator work and good old-fashioned homebrew.)

To the surprise of no one, Nintendo (and nVidia) have rolled out an updated hardware that is fixed from this arbitrary write-flaw through a system known as iPatches. These are fuses with specific bits of code that fix flaws in the boot processes and other hardware level operations. These cannot be applied after leaving the factory (as the fuse allowing them to be written or edited is blown).”

In other words, Nintendo has increased the Switch’s security by fixing a vital flaw and one that will hopefully resolve many of the piracy issues. Then again, it may take another willing hacker with plenty of expendable income to find a loop hole. Fortunately for the casual user, this doesn’t affect how the Nintendo Switch functions normally. Downloads, gameplay, and settings will function all the same, but it has some coding in there to deter hackers.

What do you think of Nvidia and Nintendo’s game plan? Do you think piracy is a problem on the Nintendo Switch? Let us know what you think in the comments section below or start a conversation on DFTG Facebook page. To stay up to date on gaming news as it happens, follow us on Twitter! Here’s some of our latest:

Hoi Duong1584 Posts

Hoi is an elusive figure at DFTG, whose favorite past-times include chillin' in the Fade, reading manga, watching anime, collecting novelty items, and gaming.

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