Now that the Nintendo Switch is hacked, there’s porn, piracy, and bans

Screen_Shot_2018_06_25_at_12.21.43_PM.png

[ad_1]

For the last few months, fans have been clamoring about an unpatchable hardware exploit that allows people to jailbreak the Nintendo Switch. The excitement around being able to do nearly anything on the console is less theoretical now: people are messing with online games, getting banned by Nintendo, and even locking each other’s consoles over piracy.

As reported by Polygon last week, one of the most visible consequences of Switch hacking is that a small number of players are running into indecent content in first-party Nintendo games. Specifically, Switch tinkerers are using developer software to set custom profile pictures, like so:


This small modification is inadvertently causing problems in the wider Switch landscape thanks to a few bad actors who are abusing the power. Mario Odyssey, the best-selling game on the Switch, has a “balloon mode” where players set platforming challenges for one another by placing balloons in hard-to-reach areas. These balloons show the profile picture of whoever set them — normally, this would be an avatar vetted by Nintendo. Apparently, however, some users are reporting that a small number of Odyssey players have changed their profile pictures to porn, and these avatars went on to show up in-game for other Mario fans. In turn, users on Reddit are sharing censored pictures of what they’ve seen online.


As hackers push what the Switch is capable of, they’re running into some of the safety measures Nintendo has in place to stop further tampering. According to established Nintendo hacker SciresM, the Switch’s online network can pinpoint specific hardware, thereby allowing it to make console bans permanent.

But the biggest change from Nintendo’s previous consoles is that Switch game cartridges are signed with certificates at the factory, and these are used to verify if a game is legit. Similarly, digital games also contain data that tie them to specific consoles and Nintendo accounts. This means that pirated copies of Switch games should be easily identified by Nintendo, as the network can pinpoint a discrepancy between the software and your hardware.

This is a huge departure from both the 3DS and Wii U, both of which had rampant piracy problems that allowed users to download games straight from Nintendo’s servers before the titles were even officially released. Already, some users who have modified their consoles or have developed software for the Switch hacking scene are reporting that their consoles are getting banned and restricted by Nintendo. Nintendo did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

While Nintendo has built a system that allows it to identify pirated software, players who are getting their consoles banned aren’t necessarily pirates: they are often just modders. On hacking hubs like GBA Temp, fans are rallying to identify common denominators between different banned Switch users. There’s no clear consensus, other than apparently Nintendo has gotten a bit better about identifying some forms of console modification.

Meanwhile, the people who make some console modifications possible are sparking controversy of their own. The developers of SX Pro, a purchasable dongle that can be plugged into the Nintendo Switch to jailbreak the console, also sell firmware called SX OX, which can be used for homebrew. While the firmware is not explicitly made for the purpose of piracy, it can be used in that way. Ironically, the firmware that opens the door for piracy has people trying to crack it, too, but it seems that Team Xecutters anticipated this. According to users like vulnerability researcher Mike Heskin, the firmware has code that bricks consoles that tamper with program, thereby preventing piracy of software that can be used for piracy. When contacted by The Verge, the team behind SX Pro disputed the specifics of the accusation, but admitted that their software has anti-tampering measures.

“Our product has been designed with the greatest possible stability and polish,” a representative of Team Xecutter said. “Whenever someone is running our SX OS they can be assured they are running a safe and well tested product. We cannot guarantee equal functionality and performance when any changes are made and therefore do not support any unauthorized modifications.”

According to the SX OX developers, the built-in safety measure — which locks up Switch consoles until either a password is submitted or the software is updated — is meant to be a challenge for people messing with the program. The thinking, the representative explained, is that if someone is smart enough to modify the program, they should be smart enough to figure out how to get past the anti-piracy measure, too. It is also meant to stop people who might want to steal the functionality for their own purposes.

“We can detect malicious tampering with 100 percent accuracy and have a harmless cat-and-mouse game between aspiring hackers and competing teams that (amongst other things) simply puts a reversible [password] on the system,” the representative claimed. “Someone would have to purposefully bypass lots of layers of integrity checking put in place to trigger this condition. This is not something that can happen in regular usage, ever.”

Above all, the developers seem concerned with being able to say they’re providing a special product worth actual money that others cannot replicate, even if ostensibly the product breaks the rules.

“We do not ‘brick’ any consoles, ever,” the representative said. “We do implement inconveniences to safeguard anti-tampering of our SX OS boot file to remain at a competitive advantage. It would simply be bad business to intentionally harm a user’s console.”

One thing is for sure: now that Pandora’s box is open on the Switch, things have gotten messy for both Nintendo and users alike.



[ad_2]

Source link