Despite the fact hacking carries negative connotation, it’s become increasingly common in recent years, especially with the steep upswing in technology. Hackers have found their way into film companies’ data storage, television networks’ information servers, and have even broken into video game systems. The most recent example of such a hack came earlier this week, when a group discovered data gaps in Nintendo Switch‘s update 3.0.
These masterminds dug into the coded instructions of Switch version 3.0, all the way down to the kernel of the system, and found a massive exploit that grants those with the proper expertise full permissions to any feature or service on the handheld-to-console operating system. Having that kind of freedom allows the hackers (and anyone who could mimic their actions) to get into the Switch’s apps to create new applications, emulators, mods, and games — the typical trappings of a homebrew.
Sources released a run-down from Switch homebrew regarding the nature of resultant exploit: “Prior to 3.0.1, the service manager (sm) built-in system module treats a user as though it has full permissions if the user creates a new “sm:” port session but bypasses initialization. This is due to the other sm commands skipping the service ACL check for Pids <= 7 (i.e. all kernel bundled modules) and that skipping the initialization command leaves the Pid field uninitialized.”
That information may sound like nonsensical gibberish to most, but it was enough to send hackers and modders into something of a frenzy. As of now, they are strongly advising Switch owners to not upgrade to the system’s version 3.0.1 firmware.
Even the infamous Nintendo 3DS and Pokemon hacker SciresM, who first discovered the Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga 3DS rerelease, spoke out about the incident on Twitter. He reiterated that the gravity of the situation isn’t to be taken lightly. “It can’t be [overstated] how big this bug was. If you want switchhax, don’t update to 3.0.1. It might take significantly longer if you do,” SciresM wrote.
Those who have had their Switch systems disconnected from Wi-Fi for a while, and who are still running version 3.0 firmware, may have some testable custom homebrew and custom software coming soon. It’s important to note that anyone who has homebrew on their Switch will have their warranty voided. Additionally, there is, of course, the possibility that running homebrew will brick the entire system and render it completely useless.
On the flip side, some who have modded their Nintendo 3DS, Wii, PSP, and other systems know that certain benefits can be had, so homebrewing isn’t a cut-and-dry terrifying thing. In fact, one Pokemon fan and avid homebrewer ventured to develop Pokemon GO for the Sega Dreamcast Visual Memory Unit, a desire that seemed to root itself in genuine passion rather than a want to corrupt an entire game’s firmware. It’s simply a matter of time until we know for sure how this Switch homebrew will pan out.
The Nintendo Switch is available now.