A glitch in the PlayStation Network messaging system can cause PlayStation 4 systems to require a full wipe and reset, as users caution each other to accept messages from trusted contacts only until the issue is resolved.
PlayStation owners are cautioning each other to turn their message settings to private in order to avoid a malicious exploit that can lock the PlayStation 4's operating system.
A number of Oct 13 alerts posted to Reddit's PS4 community board
reported that some users were receiving messages which, when displayed, cause the PlayStation 4 to crash.
Anecdotal evidence suggests the exploit has been used to retaliate against other players and teams during multiplayer matches.
The messages display one or more emoji characters in the subject line, but in a particular manner that is designed to cause a system-wide error in the recipient PlayStation 4 console.
The error is so serious that a standard reset does not take care of it. Instead, affected users are having to perform a full reset (or "factory reset").
While a response from PlayStation is awaited, PlayStation 4 owners are counseling each other to change their privacy options to Friends Only, thereby limiting their online social circle to friends and known contacts, rather than allowing anyone with their PSN ID – for example, participants in the same multiplayer sessions – to send them messages.
Another defense is that of switching off PSN network messaging altogether.
Either options can be selected through the PlayStation 4's Settings menu, where Account Management leads to Privacy Settings and then a Personal Info / Messaging section.
Messages can also be viewed through the PlayStation website or official smartphone app, and using either of those routes is an effective way of viewing and deleting the offending messages before they can cause inconvenience if the user's PlayStation 4 was off at the time of receipt. – AFP Relaxnews