The Nintendo Switch has been hacked, revealing an unpatchable exploit that opens up the system to homebrew and piracy. The vulnerability affects all Switch consoles, and is a hardware issue stemming from the system’s Nvidia Tegra X1 processor.
The exploit was revealed by console hackers Fail0verflow, who have released ‘ShofEL2’, which allows users to install Linux on their systems, and by Kate Temik, with the Fusée Gelée hack.
Hackers Fail0verflow state that they revealed the vulnerability to Google three months ago, as Tegra chips are often used in Android devices, offering a 90 day disclosure period, which expired on April 25th.
Fail0verflow revealed that they were hesitant to publicly announce the exploit, worrying that it would be used primarily for piracy reasons as opposed to homebrew. However, they described the exploit as “so obvious that multiple people have independently discovered it by now”, voicing fears that pirates would be the first to make the announcement. The hackers maintain that they have hacked the console for “fun and homebrew, nothing else.”
While TechCrunch state that applying the hack requires some technical skill, it is likely to be made easier for the masses via a user-friendly GUI, similar to the NES and SNES classic hacks.
Although Nintendo is unable to patch the hack, it is possible that they could release a Switch update that bars hacked consoles from accessing various services. Hexus also reports on rumours of Nvidia releasing a revised Tegra chip, which could block the exploit on future Switch consoles.