The defunct 3DS Swapnote app received a late update 7 years after its shutdown, allegedly in an attempt to stop hackers.
The Nintendo 3DS application Swapnote had a muddy story, but despite its online feature still being disabled, it received a remastered update in December. Two months later, the reasoning behind this mysterious update could have been discovered.
Swapnote was a 3DS application in which players would draw pictures on letters and send them to their friends. Previously, players could send them to users on their online friends list, but nowadays this can only be done wirelessly through StreetPass. In 2013, the online functionality of Swapnote closed in response to some people in Japan sharing inappropriate images with minors. The app’s functions were relegated to wireless only, and the app had not received any updates since then, until December of last year. The patch notes stated that the update “fixed some issues, “but these exact issues are only now known.
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Two months after Swapnote’s mysterious December update, a Twitter user Oatmeal published the reason for this update. According to OatmealDome, Nintendo had implemented a bounty for a fix to a flaw in Swapnote’s code where a vulnerability in the StreetPass functionality could allow hackers to run “any code they wanted. This was later fixed in the December update, and user MrNbaYoh was credited for spotting this flaw and received $ 1,000 for the bounty.
Wondering why Swapnote for 3DS got updated last month? This is (probably) why.
A vulnerability in the message parser that could be exploited via StreetPass has been fixed. This would allow an attacker to execute code of their choice.
Grats to @MrNbaYoh for the $ 1k bonus. https://t.co/O1ncHhGlF2
– OatmealDome (@OatmealDome) January 18, 2021
Even if Swapnote long past its prime, its main character Nikki is still used today as an assistance trophy in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Considering that Nintendo shut down very quickly Swapnote in reaction to the crisis, it’s a nice surprise to see Nintendo still recognize the game in Nintendo’s biggest crossover game. The December update also hinted at the possibility that Swapnote could potentially be remastered on the Switch, but whether or not there are online features like the 3DS version up. The Switch doesn’t have a StreetPass feature, so if it did have an online feature again, the big question would be how to avoid what happened to its predecessor.
Whatever happens in the future, this will likely be the last update the app receives, unless another mishap like this happens again. Even if Swapnote is remastered for the Switch, the legacy of this 3DS application remains tragic. Should Nintendo decide to release Swapnote once again, hope this doesn’t follow the same route as the original 3DS the version did.
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