There's been a lot of chatter about Switch piracy in recent months, with various groups releasing code which cracks open Nintendo's security measures and allows users to run homebrew programs on their machines, as well as play emulators and run pirated Switch software.
One such program, SX OS, has recently been released. It's a paid-for download, so the people behind it - Team Xecuter - are clearly of the opinion that they should be rewarded for their hard work (something that, ironically, they are denying the creators of the games which will be played for free using their tool).
It now seems that Team Xecuter's desire to turn a profit has resulted in a situation where SX OS can brick Switch consoles. The reason? The tool contains 'brick code' which locks up the eMMC (the console's internal memory) with a totally random password if it detects someone trying to crack it for distribution online. The end result is a Switch which cannot read or write files - it's essentially useless.
Vulnerability researcher Mike Heskin is the man who discovered this, and since posting his findings on Twitter has triggered quite a debate. He was reverse engineering the code out of curiosity and triggered the countermeasure intentionally, but he notes that it could randomly trigger even via normal usage.
The damage is reversible, but you really need to know what you're doing:
So even if you pay and download SX OS and have no intention of cracking it to give to your friends, you still run the (perhaps tiny) risk that your console could become nothing more than an expensive paperweight. This issue aside, the very notion of a piracy tool including an anti-piracy system is so ironic it's making our head spin and we might have to go for a lie down in a bit.
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