Nintendo takes the security of its consoles very seriously, and puts a lot of effort into making sure they're as hard to hack as possible. However, in the case of the Switch, we've seen exploits and vulnerabilities appear quite swiftly in the system's lifespan - it's now possible to hack the console to run homebrew code, including emulators.

Hacker SciresM - a member of the ReSwitched group - has spoken to a member of the GBATemp forum about the current state of Switch security, and the message is a mixed one. On the one hand, SciresM praises the hard work Nintendo has undertaken to keep the Switch secure, but points out that the current revision of the console is "completely compromised" due to its reliance on Nvidia's Tegra hardware:

I think that software-wise, Nintendo has done a really great job. Their operating system, Horizon, is a new, updated version of the OS on the 3DS -- with all of the hardening that has come from the 3DS's years of security issues. There have been a few unfortunate mistakes on their part, but by and large HOS is extremely secure. We've still not seen even one traditional exploitable vulnerability in the HOS kernel, which I think speaks well of the investment Nintendo has been making into securing their platform. I think that the Switch's biggest weakness, security-wise, is that it's running on (and has to be designed around) the Tegra X1 hardware.

When asked what degree of control hackers currently have over Switch, SciresM replied:

The switch has been completely compromised. 

All current hardware can be compromised. They can mitigate vulnerabilities in newer units, though, either via a hardware revision or updating the bootrom patches written at the factory.

...they're currently in the process of doing so with a new SoC called "Mariko". I expect this will be a "silent revision", where newer units will start being sold using the newer hardware without any special marketing.

SciresM is keen to stress that the ReSwitched group isn't interested in piracy or anything inherently harmful; instead, the team wants to foster a healthy homebrew community around Switch:

We want to create an engaged homebrew scene and do our best to foster a good, healthy community around it.

My personal goal is to continue hacking Pokemon games on the Switch (adding support for save editing via PKHeX, enable custom ROM hack content, etc).

He's also critical of Team Xecuter's modchip project:

I think it's irresponsible of them to try to profit off of a bootrom 0-day vulnerability that affects more products than just the Switch, and I don't think they provide anything of value to the community.

What do you make of these comments? Do you support the work of hackers like SciresM, or do you think all of this activity should be shut down as soon as possible? Let us know by leaving a comment.

[via gbatemp.net]