PlayStation 4 owners are at risk of having their console freeze on them in the middle of a game due to an issue with parsing symbols in messages received from fellow gamers.
In their attempt to fix the problem, some users restored the gaming console to factory defaults, losing their game saves if they did not subscribe to PS Plus service, which backs them up automatically to the cloud.
According to reports on Reddit, some gamers playing online multiplayer games sent a crushing message the members of the opposing team, causing their consoles to lock up in the session.
The error received as a result of this is software-related, which means that it is fixable. Its code is CE-36329-3, specific to PS4.
It important to note that the bug affects only the account that received the message, so if you have other accounts set up, you can use them to restore the damaged one without losing your data.
No need to full reset, there is an easy fix
Some users claim that deleting the damaging message solves the problem. You can do this in multiple ways from the mobile app.
However, the recommended complete solution is to also rebuild the database of the console. These steps is recommended after first deleting the message:
1. Restart PlayStation 4 console in Safe Mode (turn off the station and press and hold the power button until console beeps twice)
2. Connect the controller via the USB cable
3. Select the Rebuild Database option
Although this operation may take some time, most users reported that it completely pretty quickly in their case.
Eliminate or reduce the risk
Cheating their way to a win this way is possible when the other players' PS4 is set to allow incoming messages from any player in the PlayStation community. So enabling communication from friends only should keep you safe, unless one of your pals decides to pull a fast one on you.
1. Go to Settings > Account Management > Privacy Settings
2. Enter your password
3. Head to Personal Info | Messaging
4. Set Messages to either Friends (if you trust them) or No (which blocks the feature altogether)
The PS4 crash problem was first reported last week, without the redditor disclosing which symbols lead to the denial-of-service condition. It appears that some eager beavers tested symbols from until they found the ones that trigger the account-freezing error.
Problems with parsing content in messages are not unheard of. iPhone users should know this better then anyone: in February, a similar issue crashed iOS and macOS apps when parsing an Indian Telugu character. Apple's phones also crashed when their region was set to China and received the Taiwan flag emoji.