It has been available for a little over a week but already one hacker claims to have snuck behind the Nintendo Switch’s security protection.
Gizmodo reports that an old technique used by iOS jailbreakers has provided the breakthrough. Jailbreaking is the name of the process through which iPhones and iPads are liberated from Apple’s restrictions. Once jailbroken, an iPhone can run custom code or – most worrying – pirated games and software.
While Switch does not have a web browser, it does use Apple’s webkit for the rendering of web pages. This is used when games link to Facebook or Twitter, for instance. And it’s the presence of this code that allowed hackers to use existing jailbreak techniques to insert custom code onto Nintendo’s machine.
Oddly the exploit that has worked with Switch was one that Apple patched out of iOS some time ago, suggesting that Nintendo has used old code.
Those worried about software security, however, need not fear – for the time being it looks as if any potential hacker would need physical access to a device to break it.
The bigger implication, of course, is the possibility of running pirated code on the system, opening the door not only to emulation of Nintendo’s retro catalogue but also pirated copies of full Switch games. It may also allow for the introduction of basics such as a web browser, too.
For the time being, however, there are very few uses for the existing exploit, which only offers limited system access. Such access will allow hackers to take a closer look at Switch’s code, however, and makes a full-blown hack all the more likely.