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Nintendo tells people to stop using its ancient Wi-Fi tech over security fears

Anybody still using Nintendo's vintage Wi-Fi dongle from 2005 might need to upgrade.

Chris Kerr

July 21, 2022

2 Min Read
A screenshot of the Nintendo Wi-Fi USB Connector

The year is 2022 and Nintendo has just issued a statement telling folks to stop using a Wi-Fi dongle it released in 2005. If, like me, it's hard for you to fathom just how long ago that was, Skyrim hadn't even come out yet and Guitar Hero was just about coming into vogue.

Nintendo launched the device, formally known as the Nintendo Wi-Fi USB Connector, to let owners create a Wi-Fi bridge between their broadband-connected PC and wireless-enabled devices such as the Nintendo DS and Nintendo Wii.

The little dongle served a very specific purpose during a bygone era, but anybody still using the internet-savvy nub should probably stop immediately because, according to Nintendo, it now poses a security threat.

In a blog post on the Nintendo website, spotted by Twitter user OatmealDome, Nintendo asks people who might still be using the device to "switch to a commercially available network device [...] from the viewpoint of security protection."

The company also notes that it has long since discontinued the use of the dongle, which relies on WEP encryption that "may be decrypted in a short time by a third party."

Nintendo added that the Wi-Fi Network Adaptor it launched in 2008 and discontinued in 2013 also features certain "vulnerabilities," including the aforementioned WEP encryption, making it possible for a "third party to set or rewrite the firmware using buffer overflow or command" or make short work of decryption.

"If you continue to use these devices, there is a risk of unauthorized access from the outside or infection of the connected terminal with a computer virus," continued the company (via Google Translate).

"For security protection, we ask that customers who are currently using the product stop using it immediately and switch to a commercially available network device. We apologize for the inconvenience, and thank you for your understanding and cooperation."

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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