A new rumor has rapidly spread on several major PS4 forums and threads.
According to several users, opening a malicious text-message will brick you console, and the only way to fix the problem is a hard reset that will delete all your data.
Many users mentioned that they were affected by the problem, but Sony has not officially acknowledged the issue. In order to remain safe, a shared advice notes that messaging options should be changed, in order to only receive messages from friends or no one at all.
The problem remains controversial, as it lacks any official feedback. Even if the problem is real, there is no proof that changing the messaging option may help you in a meaningful way. It appears that the message has the same effects observed in the case of mobile platforms, where sending a particular string of characters will trigger a complete system failure.
Users that wish to quickly change their messaging options can use either the dedicated PlayStation app or a web browser. This will allow them to avoid an accidental triggering of the bug.
Users may also access the messaging options directly from the console. The option is found by accessing Settings, going to the Account Management Tab and selecting Privacy Settings. From there you can change the option to friends only or none.
In one particular thread, a PS4 user claimed that one malicious user used the method in order to ban his entire team, with only one player unaffected because he had already changed the setting to private. A question mark in a square seems to appear in the message text, reinforcing the belief that a particular character string is used in order to trigger the bug.
It remains to be seen how Sony will address the issue in the following week. A hotfix may be on its way, but until precaution is advised.
Juana loves to cover the tech and gaming industry, she always stays on the first row of CES conference and reports live from there.