Over the past few weeks, many of you, including us, have been surprised to see old Nintendo Switch games and Nintendo 3DS games receiving random software updates. The reason for this has never been clearly stated by Nintendo, and the notes for the updated games simply state that “several issues have been fixed to improve the gameplay experience”. However, it appears that was only half the story.
Now it turns out that games that have been updated in the past few weeks, such as Mario Kart 7 on Nintendo 3DS (the first update in a decade), Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Animal Crossing. New Horizons, all suffered from security holes that could be. exploited by playing the online game. The bugs, which have now been patched for Switch games, could have allowed a hacker to take over the system completely without detection.
For example, they could access saved payment information or use the built-in cameras and microphones to record audio and video (Wii U and Nintendo 3DS). Nintendo World Report says the exploit is called the “ENLBufferPwn” exploit and is rated as 9.8. /10 (Critical) on the overall vulnerability rating system.
While the issues were easy for Nintendo to fix on the Nintendo Switch system due to the way updates were deployed, some Wii U and Nintendo 3DS games remain unpatched, meaning they are still vulnerable to use. Nintendo 3DS has issues because some updates need to be downloaded from the eShop for the software. Both the Wii U eShop and Nintendo 3DS eShop are shutting down in February.
Here’s a list of games known to have had the vulnerability at some point (all Switch and 3DS games listed have received updates that fix the vulnerability, so they’re no longer affected):
- Mario Kart 7 (fixed in v1.2)
- Mario Kart 8 (not patched yet)
- Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (fixed in v2.1.0)
- Animal Crossing. New Horizons (fixed in v2.0.6)
- ARMS (fixed in v5.4.1)
- Splatoon (not fixed yet)
- Splatoon 2 (fixed in v5.5.1)
- Splatoon 3 (fixed for late 2022, exact version unknown)
- Super Mario Maker 2 (fixed in v3.0.2)
- Nintendo Switch Sports (fixed late 2022, exact version unknown)
- Probably more…