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How to avoid the alleged PlayStation 4 hack currently bricking consoles

PlayStation 4
PlayStation 4 (Image credit: Android Central )

PlayStation 4 users across the internet have reported being affected by an alleged hack that completely bricks their consoles. According to these reports and this Reddit thread surrounding the matter, this hack is occurring when people receive a message on their account. Sony has yet to officially comment on the matter, but there are safeguards you can take in the mean time to prevent one of these messages from reaching your console.

Set your messages to private

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Select Account Management.
  3. Select Privacy Settings.
  4. Select Personal Info/Messaging.
  5. Select Messages.
  6. Choose Friends Only or, even better, No One.
  7. Confirm your selection.

By setting your messaging preferences to Friends Only or No One, you won't be able to receive the alleged hacked messages going around. Though some people have reported that they can delete these messages from the mobile app on iOS or Android, others have reported that this does not circumvent the problem. Your best bet it to stop it before it happens.

If you're one of the unlucky people already affected by this issue, you may need to factory reset your console.

Factory reset through Safe Mode

  1. Turn off your console.
  2. Hold down the power button for several seconds until it beeps twice.
  3. Select Initialize PS4 on the Safe Mode screen.
Jennifer Locke
Jennifer Locke

Jennifer Locke is Android Central's Games Editor and has been playing video games nearly her entire life. You can find her posting pictures of her dog and obsessing over PlayStation and Xbox, Star Wars, and other geeky things on Twitter @JenLocke95.

35 Comments
  • Or use an Xbox 😀.
  • Yeah, the Xbox is a great choice for everyone except gamers lol.
  • Yeah what gamer likes cross play, more power and better graphics.
  • None of those things mean anything if you don't have the games. I've already finished 2 game of the year contenders in God of War and Spider-Man. You xbots can't say the same.
  • Exactly.
  • Yeah we'll my favorite games... Halo, Forza and PUBG are only on Xbox, so... By the way, Go Dawgs
  • A PC gamer.
  • PC gamers don't like better graphics or power?
    How about all new Xbox in house AAA titles releasing on PC too.
  • The question you asked, and the one I answered, was "what gamer LIKES..." not "what gamer DOESN'T like...". You should probably read your own comments before answering their responses. And the second part of that comment reinforced my original point... Even the Xbox one's alleged exclusives aren't exclusive.
  • Touche. You should probably learn to detect sarcasm. Halo.
  • To get that, you need the Xbox one X, and for that $150 more, you still end up with ***** games. Xbox is the trailer-trash walmart console, always has been
  • Wow. Those 6 Tera flops must really have you butt hurt.
  • Who made you speaker for all gamers?
  • I did
  • #officiallysanctioned
  • Real gamers use a PC.
  • I did some research into this and I can't find anything that proves "real gamers" play on PC... Do you have any actual proof of this, besides your personal opinion?
  • Real gamers use everything with games to play! I've got a PC, a PS4 and a switch. Still waiting for a reason to buy an XBOne though... I don't think it's happening.
  • Problem with Xbox is, the exclusives suck badly, the multiplats look and play worse than they do on playstation, microsoft are generally scumbags, and you would be buying a system that is surely about to be canned due to the amount of cash the business is losing, and how it doesn't fit at all in Microsofts portfolio these days
  • This is pretty much the same as other "messages of death" that have plagued mobile platforms (most notably iOS).
  • In other words, this isn't a hack. It's a software bug that's being exploited maliciously.
  • It depends how you define hack... It is technically a software hack yes. My guess is your right and it's a good old buffer overflow exploit... It could be a lot worse though as it seems it can't be used for code injection. A soft bricked console isn't ideal, but it's user repairable and doesn't compromise security.
  • A hack would imply that the existing software was altered to add the bug - something which is clearly not the case here.
  • Always did say Sony's network is and was trash
  • That might be true, but if this is real it's got nothing to do with their network. It'd be a system software problem.
  • Let me know when Spiderman is out on Xbox ;)
  • I think it's coming right before PUBG comes to Playstation. 😁
  • This is another benefit of opening messages only in the app.
  • Unfortunately just receiving the message on your system is enough to brick it if your console parsed the messaged before viewing it, like say if you have it set to preview the message in the notification.
  • Except PUBG is coming to ps4 and Spider-Man is not coming to xbox 😂
  • You don't have to factory reset the console. You can delete the message through the app and then do a database restore in safe mode. This will not wipe your hard drive and won't require you to have to download all your content again. Hopefully you can add this to your article as an option before some people are subject to hours of redownloading.
  • That does not always work, I just helped my friend through this the other day and a reformat was required, deleting the message and doing the DB restore solved nothing.
  • I think you should reevaluate your title here, it's not alleged and it's not a hack. It's really happening and it's just a message with specific characters, no different than the iphone restart message, this one just so happens to essentially brick the device instead of just reboot it.
  • Seems that this has been fixed on the server side (no console update required) according to some people on the PlayStation forums (odd that there has been no comment from Sony on this one). https://community.eu.playstation.com/t5/PS4/This-message-will-make-your-...
  • Been looking through the various PlayStation support Twitter accounts and it seems that there is a permanent solution (read: PS4 system software update) being worked on to resolve this issue. Sony have also issued a similar statement to VG247 regarding this issue. https://www.vg247.com/2018/10/15/ps4-message-exploit-bricking-consoles/