PlayStation 4 Consoles Are Being Bricked By A Malicious Private Message

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On this week’s edition of The Internet Was A Mistake, we discover that PlayStation 4 consoles are currently at risk of being bricked, thanks to a series of malicious private messages. 

Before we go any further then, I need to tell you now: Head into your PS4 settings, and make it so that you can only receive messages from friends, as opposed to any old joker, because it’s the latter option that’s causing the problems.

In a number of threads on the r/PS4 Reddit board, users are reporting that they’ve been getting messages through the PlayStation 4 messaging app that’s locking them out of their consoles.

Apparently, users will receive a message, which is swiftly followed by their controller and sound outputs go to hell. Resetting the console can then cause it to remain locked in a perpetual loop of error messages, forcing a factory reset.

Basically, it’s like a much less interesting version of The Ring.

Some have claimed that the factory reset is an adequate – if inconvenient – fix, while others have suggested the only way to sort the problem is to delete the message via the PlayStation mobile app or logging into your account in browser and getting rid of it that way.

So, how exactly is a message managing to completely break PlayStation 4 consoles? Reddit users have posited that it’s similar to a messaging exploit from 2015, in which a string of characters was able to complete screw with an iPhone’s code, crashing it.

Props to whoever came up with that one, then. If you’re crashing PS4s for fun, y’all need to get out more.

Multiple publications have reached out to Sony for a comment on this problem, but they’ve been curiously quiet. For now, just set your messages to private and hope for the best. Stranger danger, and all that.


Ewan Moore

Ewan Moore

Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn't gotten out of his mid 00's emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.