PS4 owners: set your messages to private to avoid malicious system crash

Sheri Evans
October 15, 2018

The origin of the message is unknown, however the first recorded mention of the bug came from Reddit and all instances sighted so far seem to include three heart emojis followed by a question mark box symbol, which then causes the system to crash and brick. PS4 owners have gathered on Reddit to document the issue, noting that the console can crash just from receiving the message, even if it's not opened. It seems like some bad actors on PSN are using these messages to knock people offline in competitive games, given their own team an advantage.

For example, a gamer with the username Huntstark1 described a situation they encountered as their team was involved in a match-up of Rainbow Six: Siege. I hope anyone that's affected by this can easily reset their factory settings and get back up and running smoothly.

Taking those steps will prevent anyone from sending you the problematic message.

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This just happened to me during Rocket League.

Sony hasn't issued a warning as of press time, but just to be safe, SET YOUR MESSAGES TO PRIVATE on your PS4 for now. That won't fix your console if you've already been hit by the messaging bug, however.

In order to protect your hardware from this kind of attack, users are encouraged to change their message settings to receive messages from "friends only" or "no one" under Personal Info/Messages, according to Polygon. Various solutions are being presented such as deleting the message using the PS Messaging App on mobile, rebuilding the database, or the drastic step of factory resetting the console. Thankfully, it doesn't impact or delete your data, but it sure is a nuisance.

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