The hole in the Nvidia security chip can be used to bypass the boot process of the Nintendo Switch. The same circuit is used in modern GeForce GPUs. New opportunities may arise here as well.
Consoles often rely on interesting hardware that is firmly integrated with the closed software ecosystem. If you want to get rid of this and install your own games or operating systems, you must first identify security gaps and use them. Some enthusiasts have now discovered one of the Nintendo Switches – and it is said to be impossible to fix.
Nvidia’s Falcon CPU exits
In early 2018, some Tinkers were able to inject their own code into the boot process of the switch and use it to run third-party programs on the console. However, the Nintendo Switch integrated the Tegra Security Coprocessor (TSEC) already installed on the SoC into the boot process. It closed the gaps found at that time and the console was safe again – for now.
The next target is the newly added TSEC. This is a microprocessor called the Falcon, which is included in everything else Nvidia GPU from the Maxwell generation Intended to verify the code used and executed. For this purpose, the activated code is compared with the signature key stored on the chip, which guarantees the reliability of the program.
However, with targeted memory access and lots of codes, some hobbyists have now succeeded in undermining verification by reading this true secret key. This means that virtually any program code can be executed on the switch and at this point software troubleshooting is said to be impossible – we cannot verify it. In addition, according to a related blog post, not only TSEC of the switch, but every process of the Balkan processor is affected. Verification keys were also read from the Nvidia GPU.
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The effects of hawk cannot be predicted right now. If Nvidia and Nintendo could not really stop the practice, it would be conceivable to create automated programs that enable free coding operation on the Nintendo Switch. With Nvidia GPUs, power and voltage limits can be adjusted independently.
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