Nintendo has responded to the uncovering of an unpatchable exploit within the Switch’s hardware with increased security measures focused on battling digital piracy on the console. The initiative will now permanently ban any Switch console that is caught using pirated software from Nintendo’s network.
The hardening of the publisher’s stance comes two months after hackers publicly released their discovery of a hardware exploit present in the Switch’s Nvidia Tegra X1 processor. The exploit allowed players potentially unlimited access to game software, easily allowing for piracy to thrive while leaving Nintendo few options with which to respond.
Since the videogame cornerstone couldn’t closed the back door at the hardware level, it decided to focus on creating online authorization code that can “perfectly detect whether a digital copy of a game has been legitimately purchased,” according to Reddit user SciresM, who conducted a detailed analysis of Nintendo’s modified measures.
“Nintendo actually perfectly prevents online piracy here. Tickets cannot be forged, and Nintendo can verify that the device ID in the ticket matches the device ID for the client cert connecting (banning on a mismatch), as well as that the account ID for the ticket matches the Nintendo Account authorizing to log in. Users who pirate games definitionally cannot have well-signed tickets for their consoles, and thus cannot connect online without getting an immediate ban,” added SciresM.
The update also targets gamecard piracy as the code is able to recognize “whether or not the user connecting has data from a Nintendo-authorized gamecard for the correct title.” The new measure corrects an issue where the sharing of gamecard header data between games led to gamecard piracy on the 3DS.
Some hackers have already begun devising strategies to work around Nintendo’s heighten piracy monitoring, but anyone attempting to find an offline passthrough or another back door might do well to heed SciresM’s advice. “Don’t pirate games — it will lead to your console being banned from going online, and every banned early-hardware-revision Switch is an enormous waste.”