Nintendo is famously strict when it comes to securing its software and hardware, but that usually just acts as a challenge for hackers to try and overcome. The Nintendo Switch went through its first year with very few exploits for crafty gamers to toy with, but now it seems like a major one may have just been discovered.
The Reswitched team has started teasing ‘fusée gelée’ as a proof-of-concept coldboot execution hack capable on the Switch. To put that into simpler terms, it sounds like they have discovered a pretty serious exploit in the Switch’s Nvidia chip.
The team at Reswitched, which focuses on hacking the Nintendo console to allow homebrew software, publicly shared their discovery, so there’s no doubt that the teams at Nvidia and Nintendo are currently racing around exploring the exploit.
I'm super pleased to tease "fusée gelée", @reswitchedteam's proof-of-concept coldboot execution hack– with which we join the growing ranks of those with unpatchable Tegra X1 bootrom bugs.
Quick video of it in action on a Switch: https://t.co/5nJ8E8H6Ox pic.twitter.com/Z7Jk2T9fY4
— Kate Temkin (@ktemkin) February 17, 2018
In order to access the exploit, users need to put the Switch into recovery mode (using a piece of wire) to execute extra data during boot time. Switch owners who are curious (and brave) enough to tamper with their console can read more about the details in Temkin’s fusée gelée FAQ. Proceed with caution if you aren’t a hardware expert.
The real bombshell of the discovery is that apparently it cannot be resolved with a software patch. Nintendo could make some adjustments at the hardware level for future, but it sounds like there is no way to roll out a fix for consoles that have already shipped. That’s a pretty big uh-oh and, if reliable, the hack could give console owners the ability to run all kinds of emulators on the machine.
We’ll keep an eye out for a response from Nintendo and be sure to post any updates on the situation.
Nintendo Switch is currently available.