Tegra X1 vulnerability found, affects the Google Pixel C and Nvidia Shield

Apr 25, 2018, 09:25
Tegra X1 vulnerability found, affects the Google Pixel C and Nvidia Shield

Hacker Katherine Temkin and the folks at ReSwitched have published a Nintendo Switch exploit. Several groups have discovered a flaw in Nvidia's Tegra X1 chip-which is also used in the Nvidia Shield, Google Pixel C, and other devices-that allows for arbitrary code execution on the Switch.

Executing the exploit does take quite a bit of skill but, with the steps required relatively easy to follow and available online, anyone can theoretically take advantage of it to gain control of a Switch console. This would bypass software that protects the bootROM, which like we said could in theory allow hackers to run code on the console, which like we said could lead to pirated games being run on it. In an accompanying FAQ, Temkin wrote, "Fusée Gelée isn't flawless, "holy grail" exploit-though in some cases it can be pretty damned close".

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The issue stems from a problem with how the Tegra X1 handles USB recovery mode. Until now, the only way to enter the recovery mode without running the system was to reveal and short out or bend a pin connector which resides on the right side of the console, next to the right Joy-Con.

There are various methods for achieving this, with one hardware hacking group tweeting an image of a small plug-in device that can do this easily - although a piece of wire is also enough to do the job. This in turn causes a direct memory access buffer overflow in the bootROM, allowing for arbitrary code execution to occur in the application stack. That means all devices with the aforementioned Tegra system-on-chips are vulnerable, and no software update will be able to patch it. As ArsTechnica points out, Nintendo does have some options, one of which is detecting consoles that might have been hacked and locking them from online play.

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Nintendo Switch is now one of the best selling hardware for Nintendo in nearly every region of the world.

More games - including Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, another release based on a fan favourite - were released throughout the year. First released last year, the Switch has been something of a revelation for Nintendo, with extremely strong sales that have helped the company forget about the troubles of predecessor device the Wii U. As a matter of fact, the Switch had already outsold the Wii U by the beginning of this year.

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In this version, the controller can be used much like a classic system, with grips and buttons on both sides.

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