Hackers have broken into Japanese video gaming giant Nintendo’s Switch, allowing them to run pirated games and custom homebrew apps on the gaming console.
According to Eurogamer, two similar unpatchable exploits have been released by hackers following a complete dump of the gaming console’s boot ROM.
The exploits are in Nvidia’s “Tegra X1” chip (that powers the Switch) and gain access to the operating system.
“Nintendo cannot patch the hardware flaw without releasing a new version of the Switch, which means that at least 14 million devices are vulnerable,” The Verge reported late on Tuesday.
The exploits were delivered by veteran console hackers “fail0verflow” with its “ShofEL2” release, and the “Fusée Gelée” hack from Kate Temik.
“According to the hackers, the nature of the exploit was fully disclosed to Google, Nintendo and Nvidia some time ago. ‘fail0verflow’ was set to release its exploit on 25th April, but brought it forward once the boot ROM dump leaked,” said the Eurogamer report.
“Choosing whether to release an exploit or not is a difficult choice,” fail0verflow wrote in a blog post.
“Given our experiences with past consoles, we’ve been wary of releasing vulnerability details or exploits for fear of them being used primarily for piracy rather than homebrew,” it added.
It’s a like a jailbreak of a smartphone.
“The hack doesn’t require a modchip, although it’s likely that third parties will now create Switch hardware mods to assist with the jailbreak,” The Verge said.
Once the exploit is used, it’s undetectable to existing software and allows Switch users to run custom homebrew apps, or a full touch-enabled version of Linux with 3D acceleration support.
NVIDIA told The Washington Post that “it takes security concerns seriously, and is actively evaluating this issue and conferring with partners.