Update 2: Sony now says it has fixed the viral messaging exploit that was sending PS4 consoles into a never-ending crash loop.
Yesterday Sony told VG247 that a fix was coming in a system software update, but the PlayStation support account now says the issue has already been resolved.
We've since fixed the issue, and it wasn't bricking consoles, just sending them into a crash loop that can be quickly fixed in under 5 minutes. Delete the message on the PS mobile app, go into Safe Mode, use Option 5, console back to normal. ^DB
— Ask PlayStation UK (@AskPS_UK) October 15, 2018
Personally, I'm going to keep my messages on 'friends only', just in case.
Update: A PS4 exploit appeared during the weekend, in which a viral PSN message could render your machine unusable until you followed a workaround.
Sony says it is aware of the issue and is working on a fix. “We are aware of the situation and are planning a system software update to resolve this problem,” Sony told VG247 in an email.
For now, the best way to protect yourself is to set your messages to private by following the steps below.
Original Story: PlayStation 4 users are being warned to set their messages to private due to an exploit making the rounds.
PS4 users are warning others that a private message being sent contains characters, that when viewed, force players to factory reset their consoles in order to get it working again.
And it's not just opening of the message that does it: just receiving the notification can be enough to force a reset "depending on how much of the message it parses."
According to various reddit users, even deleting the message from the mobile app doesn't work. One user had it happen while playing Rainbow Six: Siege.
"A player from the other team used a dummy account to send the message and crashed my entire team," said reddit user Huntstark. "We all have had to factory reset. Only one of our guys wasn't affected and he has his messages private."
According to user BorgDrone, basically, someone can 'brick' another's PS4 just by using "a message designed to exploit a mistake in the code."
He goes on to explain how this works in technical terms on the reddit thread.
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.
Here is how to set messages to private in case you don't know how, courtesy of Gunrun:
Go to Settings > Account Management > Privacy Settings > Enter your password > Personal Info | Messaging, and set Messages to either Friends (if you trust them) or No One.
We'll update this post once more information becomes available.