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Nintendo Switch Piracy Can Get You Banned Fast, Says Prominent Hacker

A prominent hacker is warning people not to pirate games on Nintendo Switch. In a lengthy Reddit post (first noticed by Nintendo Insider), SciresM said people who do so will quickly be detected by Nintendo’s robust security measures and banned.

Nintendo can detect whether or not the data on a Switch game card is legit, SciresM wrote. “This solves the 3DS-era issue of game card header data being shared between games,” they said. “Additionally, there’s a fair amount of other, unknown (encrypted) data in a certificate being uploaded — and certificates are also linked to Nintendo Accounts when gold points are redeemed. Sharing of certificates should be fairly detectable, for Nintendo.”

This system also works “perfectly” to prevent online piracy of digital games, they added.

“Tickets cannot be forged, and Nintendo can verify that the device ID in the ticket matches the device ID for the client cert connecting (banning on a mismatch), as well as that the account ID for the ticket matches the Nintendo Account authorizing to log in.”

People who pirate games can’t have well-signed tickets for their consoles, so they can’t connect online without getting an immediate ban. “This is exactly how I would have implemented authorization for digital games, if I were them,” SciresM said.

Hacking on the Switch rose recently after the discovery of an unpatchable exploit in the console’s hardware that allows people to use homebrew code. Nintendo immediately began cracking down, banning hackers from using online services. It’s current anti-piracy measures are “extremely strong,” SciresM said.

“Nintendo did a great job here.”

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