We previously reported on a hardware-based exploit for the Nintendo Switch that allowed homebrew software to be run, and of course enabled games to eventually be pirated on the consoles running the hacked code. Well as we all expected, Nintendo doesn’t take too kindly to hackers and pirates, so they’ve cracked down hard. Not only has the company issued hardware bans against consoles it detected running non-standard code, they’ve managed to patch the underlying exploit, which was previously considered unpatchable.
According to SciresM, the flaw has been fixed in the latest gen of Switch consoles on store shelves, users still wanting to run the f-g (Fusée Gelée) exploit should try to obtain a console running the 4.1.00 firmware or below. This version has been shown to still be vulnerable to another underlying exploit, but anyone taking advantage of this is warned against being online while running a hacked console, lest they get slapped with a hard ban.
The method by which the boot ROM exploit was patched is not known, but some suspect it involves an update to the underlying code that checks software running on the machine for validation purposes. Whether Nintendo implemented some kind of runtime checks or just a simple blacklist against known exploits hasn’t been discovered yet. Although some reports suggest that an overhaul of error handling patched the console in a way that prevents the USB recovery error hackers were previously able to take advantage of.
We’ll just have to wait and see what Nintendo do next. And even if a new exploit is discovered for 5.0 and beyond, the cat and mouse game with hackers and modders will go on forever.