Hacking group fail0verflow has discovered a vulnerability in Nintendo Switch that allows the installation of Linux, basically opening the door to something that the parent company hoped it’d never come true: pirated games.
In a post on Twitter earlier this week, fail0verflow revealed that Nintendo Switch comes with a bug that cannot be fixed with firmware updates and which can be abused at any moment to install Linux.
A photo that’s included in the tweet shows the Switch running Debian, and the hacking group says the exploit was aimed at a bug in the boot ROM, suggesting that software fixes aren’t possible. This means that if Nintendo does want to block this hack, the only way to do it might be working with Nvidia on new Tegra X1 chips without the vulnerability, though the company could find other ways to mitigate the problem.
Pirated games? Not so fast
At first glance, the main benefit of hacking a Nintendo Switch is the possibility of installing homebrew apps and pirated games, though Nintendo is expected to be working on an arsenal of methods that would be used to discourage users from turning to such cracks.
First and foremost, if it finds a way to determine which consoles are hacked, Nintendo could ban these users from online play, thus running a series of checks before every device connects to its servers. Then, the company could also release new firmware updates to get around this bug, and although it might not be entirely fixed, other methods to reduce its impact might make their way to the console.
At this point, however, Nintendo hasn’t commented on this hack, and opinions from the fan community are still mixed on whether this is a helpful finding or not.
While some think that modding a console and looking into software piracy could be an exciting thing to do, others believe there’s no reason to be concerned because the majority of buyers would still stick with legitimate ways to play games on the Switch anyway.