PlayStation 4 players are falling victim to a massive message hack that is reportedly freezing consoles.
It appears that a particular message sent to any PS4 can stop the console from working, unless players restore the PS4 to factory settings afterwards.
A number of gamers have taken to Twitter to complain about the exploit, though Sony has not officially responded.
— Zen Ibuka ☯️ (@zenibuka) October 15, 2018
Ask PlayStation UK (@AskPS_UK) tweeted earlier today (October 15) saying it’s investigating the issue.
While PlayStation is “not seeing any bricked consoles from this, just a crash loop”, it is advising players to simply delete the message via the PS messaging app, and then use Option 5 in Safe Mode to fix the problem.
@AskPS_UK sup guys/girls quick question am hearing rummours of messages bricking ps4 consoles from fans on you tube? The guys telling peeps to change settings etc. Says sony will fix it next update. I would hope Sony would norify each person if this was the case?
— charles fair (@charlesfair6) October 15, 2018
The message, which is a string of characters and smiley faces, appears to triggers a bug in the PS4 that is freezing a number of players’ consoles.
But if you’re worried that your PS4 is about to be hit by the hack, don’t worry – we’ve got some steps here to help you protect your console.
How to protect your PS4 from message hack
It goes without saying that you should be wary of opening messages from players that you don’t know. If you receive a message from someone you don’t recognise, delete it before opening it using the Messaging app. You can download the app for free on your Android or iOS device.
Another solution is to restrict who can send you messages, blocking anybody but people on your friends list from communicating with you.
There are two ways of doing this:
1. Hop online and go to your favoured web browser and visit this URL on the Sony Entertainment Network. Sign in with your PS4 account credentials and choose “Personal Info | Messages” and then select the edit button near Messages.
From here, you can choose from three options – anyone, friends only, or no one. We recommend blocking anyone from sending you messages until Sony’s fixed the bug.
2. From the PS4 console, go to Settings —> Account Management —> Privacy Settings. Choose “Personal Info | Messages” and then select Messages.
From here, you can choose anyone, friends only, or no one. Until Sony fixes this bug, we recommend you should choose one of the latter two options.
If you think you have been hit by the bug, it’s recommended to fire up your PS4 in Safe Mode, which cleans up the data on your PS4 without sacrificing the saved data – essentially wiping your hard drive of anything unnecessary.