PlayStation 4 owners discovered an issue where a certain message with a particular set of symbols, if sent to your game console, could brick the system (Redditors captured what the viral messages look like, in case you’re interested).
“Rainbow Six: Siege” and “Destiny 2” players encountered this issue when their opponents sent these messages during competitive multiplayer matches, forcing them to lose their games, as well as their consoles.
Sony released the following statement in response to the bug: “We are aware of the situation and are planning a system software update to resolve this problem.”
If this damaging message is sent to your PlayStation 4, you may be unable to use the console unless you perform a fix. Many people have resorted to factory resets, where they lose any data that’s not stored in the cloud or elsewhere, but Sony confirms there is a way to fix your PlayStation 4 without losing any of your save data.
How to prevent the issue from happening to you
There’s an easy way to make sure this bug doesn’t reach your PlayStation 4: all you need to do is set your messages to “private.”
Just visit Settings > Account Management > Privacy Settings > Personal Info and Messaging, and set Messages to either “Friends” or “No One.”
Until Sony releases a software fix, this is the best way to ensure you don’t have to deal with a major headache.
How to fix your PlayStation 4 if you received the message
Thankfully, some Reddit users found there’s a relatively simple way to fix your PlayStation 4 if you received the viral message, without needing to perform a factory reset. Sony’s PlayStation Spain account confirmed on Twitter that this will indeed help resolve the issue.
First, you’ll need to delete the message. The best way to do that is through the PS Messages app for your phone, or visit my.playstation.com to view and delete the message. You want to click the option “Leave Group” here.
Once you’ve successfully deleted the message, you need to reboot your PlayStation 4 in safe mode. Power down your console, then hold the power button for seven seconds. You should hear a beep, and see the safe mode menu.
Finally, in safe mode, choose the “Rebuild Database.” If you did it right, your PlayStation 4 should restart correctly and you should have access to all of your games and save data.