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Nintendo Switch Homebrew Launcher Could Allow Custom Software Via NVIDIA Backdoor

Nintendo gaming consoles are typically pretty well locked down (at least initially), and are a tough nut to crack for enthusiasts. About the closest that homebrew wizards came to prying inside the inner working of the Nintendo Switch was to find a hidden NES Golf game, which was included in honor of late Nintendo president Satoru Iwata.

However, enthusiasts have a new reason to be excited, as homebrew support will soon be coming to incredibly popular hybrid gaming console. You might ask, "How is this possible?" Well, it all comes down to the fact that Nintendo opted to use NVIDIA's Tegra X1 hardware platform for the Switch, which is known quantity to developers and hackers alike.

switch red blue

Hackers Plutoo, Derrek and Naehrwert demonstrated the fruits of their labors at the 34C3 conference in Germany. Nintendo’s use of off-the-shelf components allowed the hackers to "bypass all layers of security" on the Switch according to wololo.net. What's really interesting is even though Nintendo managed to improve upon the security of the 3DS, the prolific nature of the Tegra X1 made it a relatively easy target.

“Just search for ‘bypass the SMMU’ in the documentation”, said Plutoo. “NVIDIA backdoored themselves”.

While the hackers won't be releasing their kernel exploits discovered on the Switch, the homebrew platform will be released "soon". The aim is to provide limited tools to help the homebrew community, while dissuading outright piracy.

The one caveat to this new homebrew experience is that it is only currently validated for Nintendo Switch 3.0.0 firmware. So, if you want to take part in the festivities, you will need to stay on that firmware and resist the urge to update to a newer build.

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