Back in March following on from the Switch’s launch, hackers immediately found a browser exploit that allowed them to dig deeper into the console’s inner workings. Now, right at the start of the year, hackers have managed to figure out how to get access to the Switch’s kernel, paving the way for future homebrew software.
As with most consoles, the Nintendo Switch is heavily locked down so that only approved software can run on the system. However, at the recent 34C3 hacking conference in Germany, three hackers known as Plutoo, Derrek, and Naehrwert demonstrated how they managed to access the console’s kernel via the Nvidia Tegra X1 chip. The hackers were helped by the sheer amount of documentation available on the Tegra X1, which shows hardware tinkerers how to bypass the System Memory Management Unit.
As wololo reports, the hackers won’t be releasing their kernel exploits, which require that the Switch be running firmware version 3.0.0. Earlier firmware versions require a copy of Pokken Tournament DX to get it working.
While the kernel exploit won’t be going public, the three have said that they are planning on releasing a homebrew kit. This will allow unapproved third-party developers to get their own software running on the Switch.
KitGuru Says: Currently, Nintendo is on Switch firmware version 4.1.0, so whatever exploit is at play here has likely already been patched. Still, this is just the beginning, over time new exploits will be found and the cycle will continue. The main thing Nintendo will want to avoid is the development of piracy tools, like the R4 back in the DS days, or the Gateway cards that released for the 3DS.