Hackers Say They're Close To Cracking The Switch

The Nintendo Switch has been a difficult nut to crack for hackers, but some of them are now claiming they're finally close to a breakthrough.

On January 7, the team of hackers called Fail0verflow released a video of a Switch running a custom program, claiming afterward that its exploit "can't be patched" — that is, that Nintendo would be powerless to stop the hack without revising the Switch hardware.

Earlier in the month, Team-Xecuter teased its own exploit — a mod chip that would allow players to run a custom firmware. And in a blog post, hacker Hexkyz said that he had found another exploit that works across all Switch firmware updates so far.

Finding these exploits hasn't been easy. In a lengthy presentation at the Schedule 34th Chaos Communication Congress, a third group of hackers named Derrek, Plutoo, and Naehrwert explained that the Switch has "a custom OS that is one of the most secure we've ever seen."

The talk includes a visualisation of the layers of security you'd have to go through in order to get to the more privileged processes. Put simply, there are a lot of things to crack before you can get access to the whole system.

But as they demonstrate, there are still ways through. They show off a series of exploits to gain control of each part of the system, and end the presentation by showing off a successfully hacked Switch running a custom program.

While these are all promising starts, none of them have been released into the wild yet. The Team-Xecuter chip is not slated to be released until spring, and Fail0verflow hasn't released any more information about its own exploit. While Derrek, Plutoo, and Naehrwert are working on a homebrew launcher using the exploits they have found, that too hasn't been released.

As for the method that Hexkyz says he used to hack firmwares above 3.0.0, he says he doesn't plan on releasing it to the general public until there are other exploits, saying that for now he will reserve the "privilege" of running homebrew on the Switch to hobbyist programmers only.


    I hope it stays unhacked.

      Why so? Switch would be much more useful if we had emulators on it.

        If it only ran homebrew then sure, but if they hack it to run pirated commercial games, this early in its life it will likely hurt the system and potential 3rd part support.
        Have the PS4 or XB1 been hacked yet?

          Wii was cracked wide open and still fine. I'm hoping the Switch will go the same way if it gets cracked. I'd rather it wasn't though, I hate cheaters online and this makes it easier.

            could go the way of the PSP, VITA probably would have been viable for hacking too if storage wasnt so horribly expensive.

          DS, DSI were easily hacked.

          One of the biggest selling handhelds of all time.

          PS2, Easily hackable.

          Biggest selling console of all time.

          Your point is moot.

            Replying like that just makes you sound like a twat.

    I don't have a personal opinion on this either way, too complex.

    But I find it interesting that the stance on hacking here fluctuates between support and condemnation depending on who it actually hurts.

      I'm all for opening up homebrew and emulation, but I'm not for piracy and cheating in PvP games.

    I would be so happy if this happens, then we wouldn't need to pray to Nintendo in the hopes of getting the Virtual Console game we want.

    Would be nice to not have to swap game carts in and out. Installing retail games onto system should be standard function.

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