A potential security breach in the PlayStation 4 software is being exploited through the system's messaging service to remotely lock a third-party console.
In some cases, according to inform the affected in social networks and forums, the message forces to completely restore their consoles, losing data and videogame installations. If the user does not previously terminate who can send a message through Sony's online service, any player who has access to their username can send the message blocking the PlayStation 4.
The message appears with a question mark on the screen, since it is a character or a series of characters that the system can not interpret.
"We were playing a game of Destiny 2 when one of the rivals sent us that strange message," says Keven "ZKMushroom" Bell, one of Destiny 2's most famous streamer on the Twitch platform, to EL PAÍS. "The remote was disconnected and my screen turned black, I had to restore my console to play again, it's sad to see how some people resort to this to win a game."
Oddly enough, it is not the first time that an operating system can be rendered inoperable through a simple text message. At the beginning of 2018, a character in télugu (one of the languages spoken in India), restarted the iOS 11 Springboard constantly until the affected managed to erase the message from the web.
PlayStation has not made any official announcement, but a security breach like this could take days or weeks to be solved through a system update, which must be thoroughly tested in advance.
For now, waiting for Sony to investigate the situation and deploy an update if necessary, it is appropriate to take preventive measures such as restricting the reception of messages to friends only or completely. These adjustments are made through the menu in Account Management / Privacy Settings or through the Web in Personal Information / Messages.
Some users report having managed to avoid factory reset of their consoles by deleting the message through the PlayStation mobile application before opening the message on the PlayStation 4.
Those affected can restart their consoles and access in safe mode to rebuild the system database after deleting the message through the mobile application. In some cases, several users report that the measure has succeeded in preventing the complete restoration of the system.