The Nintendo Switch has been a console that has intrigued a lot of people in the world of homebrewing and hacking. In fact, not so many months ago there was a huge word about an “Unpatchable Exploit” that allowed users to run custom firmware, homebrew code, and even pirated software on all existing hardware.
However, something that people didn’t expect is a new batch of Nintendo Switch with a new layer of protection against the exploit. According to the prominent Switch hacker SciresM, at least some Switch units have been patched with the iPatch System that comes with NVIDIA Tegra Chipsets.
In layman’s terms, the ROM Patches come with new code burned into the ROM itself. This new protective layer of code is intended to cut off the USB Recovery mode overflow error that was used to break into the Nintendo Switch’s firmware.
Now, while this means that the Nintendo Switch units have a new layer of protection against hackers, it doesn’t mean that they are actually new versions of the chipset. Quite the contrary, actually, because the firmware version that has these patches is Version 4.1.0. This version is outdated ever since 5.0.0 dropped in March of this year.
Basically, if you have purchased a Version 4.1.0 (or inferior) Nintendo Switch before April of this year, you are in the clear. The fact that the code was leaked and given to Nintendo pretty much gave them the advantage before the software was used to pirate games.
This isn’t all bad news (for hackers) though, SciresM also told users that his (unpublished at the time of writing) exploit called “Déjà vu” can still work on the updated Version 4.1.0 firmware. However, this issue has actually been patched out in 5.0.0, so updating is ill advised.
Bad News: Reports of new Switches in the wild not being vuln to f-g… probably updated ipatches.
Good news: they're coming with 4.1.0 for now, which is vuln to deja vu.
Friendly reminder: if you want a hacked switch, don't update. The lower the better. This is still very true.
— Michael (@SciresM) July 10, 2018
Basically, the newly distributed Nintendo Switch Units will probably not be the ones sought after by people who want to hack the console. In other words, a lot of people will be going towards secondhand sales and used consoles.
Considering how Nintendo continues their extremely aggressive campaign against homebrew users by banning their systems from their Online Service, it’s clear that while Nintendo may have won the battle, the war is still ongoing.