Someone finally managed to hack the Nintendo 3DS

This week, 22-year-old Jordan Rabet sat down at his keyboard and told his many Twitter followers the good news: his year-long project to crack the 3DS’ security was finally at an end. He had found a backdoor into Nintendo’s handheld, a way for anyone to load unofficial “homebrew” games, normally outlawed by companies due to fears such methods enable piracy. What makes Rabet’s exploit, which he’s called NINJHAX, special is its simplicity. It is the first to work across all Nintendo 3DS types and does not require any fiddly programming skills.

It’s been well over 3 years since the Nintendo 3DS hit the shelves — and in that time, the device has proven itself remarkably resistant to hacking and modification. Until now. This evening, a hacker going by Smealum released an exploit that seems to allow 3DS owners to run unauthorized code — or “homebrew”, as it’s known — on their devices. Perhaps the most interesting part of the whole story: the exploit relies on a bug in a QR code reader built into a previously almost unheard of game called Cubic Ninja. A week ago, the easiest place to find Cubic Ninja was in your local game shop’s bargain bin. After hackers disclosed the name of the game involved with the hack, however, prices skyrocketed. Whereas a used copy may have cost you under a buck on Amazon a week ago, copies are now going for $40-70. It’s no sealed-in-box copy of Chrono Trigger (or, better yet, Gamma Attack), but that’s some pretty insane overnight inflation. Still wondering what exactly “homebrew” is? Think of it sort of like jailbreaking an iPhone. Nintendo likes to keep a pretty tight hold on what can run on their console — this opens the door to things they probably wouldn’t approve of. Things like emulators, one-off indie games, etc.

By Scarlett Madison

+Scarlett Madison is a mom and a friend. She blogs for a living at Social News Watch but really prefers to read more than write. Find her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

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