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The bootleg Nintendo Network replacement no longer requires jailbreaking

by Ohio Digital News

The Pretendo Network, an open-source Nintendo Network alternative, no longer requires a hacked Wii U console. With Nintendo’s servers for the obsolete console shutting down on Monday, the Pretendo Network shared a new workaround that provides (limited) access to its homebrew servers without jailbreaking your dusty old console.

An SSL (secure sockets layer) is a protocol that encrypts the connection between a device and its servers. The Wii U’s SSL exploit (branded as “SSSL”), discovered by the Pretendo Network’s shutterbug, lets you connect to the network with only a simple DNS change, which you can do on the stock firmware. “We’ve been holding on to this exploit for this day for quite some time, in case Nintendo decided to issue patches for it,” the network’s creators wrote in a blog post announcing the new workaround.

Not everything will work, though. The Pretendo Network team says third-party titles that use their own SSL libraries aren’t compatible. That includes Watch Dogs, the YouTube app and anything running an embedded browser (like TVii, the eShop and the Miiverse applet). However, the network creators stress that in-game Miiverse functionality still works.

The workaround requires a Wii U running at least firmware version 5.5.5. If yours has software lower than that, you should still be able to go online and install the latest update. Nintendo last pushed a Wii U firmware update in August 2022, when the current version (5.5.6) arrived.

Shutting down the Wii U and 3DS online servers doesn’t prevent Nintendo from providing new firmware updates to the consoles. Given Nintendo’s aversion to hacking its devices, the Mario maker could, at least in theory, update the 12-year-old Wii U to patch the DNS workaround.

To take SSSL for a spin in the meantime, you can follow the Pretendo Network’s instructions.

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