PlayStation 4 owners recently began reporting a strange messaging exploit, one which has already been allegedly weaponized to brick their consoles. Sony is working to fix the problem, but in the meantime, everyone just set your messages to private.
Several users congregated on a Reddit thread, sharing a very similar story: A user would receive a message from someone, and after a moment several functions of their console would stop working. Some users attempted to fix their consoles, or delete the offending message via the PlayStation mobile app. According to the users in the Reddit thread, the message corrupted their consoles to the point they required a factory reset to function again. Others tried this technique to no avail, but did have some luck after deleting the message.
One user showed a picture of the message they received, which included an apparently incompatible character. If you pick through the dozens of reports, that seems to be a common feature among people who could actually see the offending messages.
It sounds a little hokey at first, but Sony has since acknowledged the problem. According to VG247, Sony is “aware of the situation and are planning a system software update to resolve this problem.” We’ve contacted Sony for more information on what about these messages was so problematic that they could be weaponized.
Personally, I’ve had my messages set to private ever since I got one too many random invites to watch cam shows. But just as a little PS4 PSA to my fellow owners out there, just go ahead and toggle the option to set your messages to private until this has been officially addressed. Go to Account Management in the Settings Menu, and the option is under Privacy Settings.