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Nintendo implements Switch anti-piracy measures

Nintendo addresses the recent Switch security exploit with new anti-piracy measures.

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Nintendo Switch close up

Nintendo addresses the recent Switch security exploit with new anti-piracy measures.

Last month it came to light that an unpatchable hardware flaw in the Nintendo Switch’s Nvidia Tegra X1 processor left the console vulnerable to mods and cheats for online games, and potential game piracy.

According to Reddit user SciresM, it now appears that Nintendo has implemented measures that can “perfectly detect whether a digital copy of a game has been legitimately purchased”.

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Here is SciresM’s high-level overview of how the measures work:

  1. Your console verifies that it can connect to the internet.
  2. Your console verifies that it can get a device authorization token to go online — that it is not banned.
  3. Your console authorizes the Nintendo Account being signed into.
  4. Your console obtains an application authorization token for the specific title being played.

The most interesting aspect is that Nintendo can actually verify if a physical Nintendo Switch game card is authorised for use. On the digital games front, SciresM asserts that the method perfectly prevents online piracy. The end result for users trying to play pirated games is that they will not be able to connect online without receiving an immediate ban.

All in all it appears to be an elegantly executed fix from Nintendo, and if SciresM’s finding are correct there will be sighs of relief all round.


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Thumbsticks editor and connoisseur of Belgian buns. Currently playing: Paper Mario: The Origami King, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and Pikmin 3 Deluxe.

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