Despite the security features of the Nintendo Switch, it was apparently no match for hackers, as they have already found out a way to reconfigure the handheld console’s software to run pirated games.
34c3, a hacker’s conference which recently took place in Germany, saw a team of tech experts tapping into the hardware of the Switch in order to take advantage of it. Apparently, the Switch’s own graphics processing unit, the NVIDIA Tegra chipset, is what made it easier for the hackers to crack the security of the handheld console. This was demonstrated by hackers named Plutoo, Derek, and Naehwert.
The Tegra chip allowed the hackers to gain access deep-level functions of the chipset not usually accessible to the public, much like the engineers and developers of NVIDIA and Nintendo. A video was even posted showcasing the do-it-yourself (DIY) instructions but has been removed eventually.
The catch to this, however, is that Switch owners will have to keep their consoles offline in order for it to stay at a specific firmware version which makes it open to hacking. This means that the chance hacked Switch consoles will allow multiplayer or online gameplay are slim and may even be disregarded entirely. However, this has always been the case with pirated games, meaning players will have to settle for only half the game.
So far, the so-called homebrew, which is the software needed for easier hacking of the Switch, has not been released by the hackers yet, but reports indicate that they may soon. Plutoo, one of the hackers, has also implied that the hack was also done to demonstrate how vulnerable NVIDIA’s tech was and that basically “Nvidia backdoored themselves.” Nintendo, however, has released successive firmware updates which can rectify the vulnerability of the console, meaning later software updates for the Switch will bar pirated games or any hacking attempts.
It is important to note that some of the dangers included in hacking a Switch come in the form of a warranty void, or at the worst case, being prohibited from certain future games which require a specific firmware update.