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Hackers Vow to Crack The Nintendo Switch, Despite $20,000 Bug Bounty

14 April 2017, 8:28 am EDT By Aaron Mamiit Tech Times
Nintendo recently expanded its bug bounty program, offering up to $20,000 to those who would report Nintendo Switch exploits and vulnerabilities. Hackers, however, are confident that they will still be able to break open the hybrid console.  ( Neilson Barnard | Getty Images )

Hackers believe that they will be able to break open the Nintendo Switch, despite the bug bounty of up to $20,000 that Nintendo has placed on the hybrid console.

Nintendo, which recently expanded its bug bounty program from the handheld Nintendo 3DS to the Nintendo Switch, will pay varying amounts to those who would discover and report bugs, exploits, and vulnerabilities for the hybrid console.

The program will keep these bugs away from the hands of the hackers, but they believe that hacking the Nintendo Switch is only a matter of time.

Why Hack The Nintendo Switch?

The hacking community is looking to crack open the Nintendo Switch not just to propagate piracy, though that is one of the main reasons for carrying out such activities on consoles.

Hackers believe that the Nintendo Switch has immense potential for running homebrew, which are custom operating systems and apps that can be developed for the device. This is viewed as a better end step for hacking the Nintendo Switch, as being able to pirate titles for the hybrid console might make developers lose interest in creating games for the device, leading to loss of interest among customers.

The unique form factor and capabilities of the Nintendo Switch, which can be played as a handheld device or connected to its dock as a tabletop console, opens up a lot of possiblities for homebrew apps. Of course, before the homebrew potential of the Nintendo Switch can be tapped, hackers will need to first gain control of the hybrid console's internals.

Nintendo Switch Homebrew

Some members of the Nintendo hacking community do not like the idea that those who discovered bugs and exploits on the Nintendo Switch may go straight to Nintendo to receive cash. This would allow Nintendo to patch up the vulnerabilities without hackers getting the chance to see what they could do with them.

A hacker, however, claimed that homebrewed versions of the Nintendo Switch will happen, even with the lucrative bug bounty in place.

"[Nintendo is] nowhere near where Sony's at with protecting their IP and their consoles from exploits and hacking. So, it's just like every other Nintendo console at this point," the hacker said. This is evident on how The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for the Nintendo Wii U was already pirated before the game's release, and the pirated copies of Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon for the Nintendo 3DS.

In addition, right after the Nintendo Switch was released last month, an old exploit was found to have worked in hacking the hybrid console.

The latest update on Wololo.net from last week on hacking the Nintendo Switch revealed that there is nothing that can be used by regular users of the hybrid console, but progress is being made in cracking open the device.

Interestingly, the bug bountry program itself may help hackers in their goal. Exploits that have been submitted and then patched by Nintendo will come with change logs, and skilled hackers will be able to reverse engineer the details changes and possibly discover more methods of unlocking the Nintendo Switch.

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