October 15, 2018 // 10:58 a.m.
Reports have begun circulating of malicious messages being sent via Sony's PlayStation Network (PSN) which are capable of soft-bricking a PlayStation 4 console when viewed, requiring affected consoles to be rebooted into safe mode and for their system database to be rebuilt.
In a turn of events which may be familiar to users of Apple's iPhone, a platform which has had its fair share of message-related bugs in the past, Sony's PlayStation 4 is reportedly vulnerable to attack via malicious messages specially crafted to contain an invalid character. When viewed directly on the console, reports via social media have claimed, these messages cause the system to soft-brick until manually rebooted into the console's safe mode and the system database rebuilt - a process which only fixes the problem until the next malicious message is received and viewed.
Users posting to a Reddit thread announcing the flaw have claimed that it is being actively exploited by players in an attempt to win multiplayer matches by default, sending the malicious message to all members of the opposing team in order to crash them out of the game.
The Verge has put together a list of methods by which users can protect themselves and recover a soft-bricked system, including deleting malicious messages using the PSN smartphone application before they are viewed on the console, setting their accounts to receive messages from trusted friends only or simply blocking all messages, and rebuilding the system database for those whose systems have already been hit.
Sony, however, has so far been silent on the flaw, with no word on when an update will be released to patch the vulnerability.