Over the weekend Reddit users started reporting that some PlayStation 4 players were receiving messages that bricked their consoles, forcing a factory reset to return the console to working condition. To avoid facing this fate on your own console and losing your precious PlayStation data, here are some steps to make sure your console and account are secure and protected.
Set Your Messages To Private
To avoid the message crashing problem that's cropped up in the last few days, the easy fix is to turn your messages to private, meaning non-friends can't send you potentially malicious messages. It's important to know that users affected by this issue didn't have to open the messages in question for their systems to crash, it happened when the messages arrived in their inboxes. Avoid any risk by closing off your inbox to people who mean you harm.
Don't Accept Friends You Don't Know
That being said, closing down your inbox isn't going to do much if you accept any Tom, Dick or Harry (emphasis on the middle) as a friend. Make sure you vet the accounts you add, and don't accept anyone who isn't someone you already know, or someone you've met and played with in game.
Turn On 2FA
Worried about someone else getting access to your PSN account? You can now turn on two factor authentication for your PlayStation account to make sure your account can't be accessed without a code from your mobile phone.
Switch 2FA on here.
Turn On Passcodes For Your PS4 Account
As a default, anyone who has physical access to your PlayStation can just boot it up, log into your profile and start playing (as well as creating new accounts, managing users and all that jazz). But if you live with people you don't trust or just don't want in your account, you can require a passcode to log in. Find this option under "Users" in settings, then select "Login Settings" and "Passcode Management". Note that this has to be turned on for each user, not just for the console.
You can also restrict guest access to the console with the parental access features - go into Parental Controls, choose Restrict Use of PS4 Features and then set 'Select [New User] and Log in to PS4' to 'Do Not Allow'. Now you'll need a parental pin code to create a new user from the main screen. If you haven't set a parental lock code yet, the default code will be 0000.
Turn On Purchase Verification
You can also turn on an extra level of protection for your purchases if you're worried about dodgy roommates, kids or hackers buying things on your account, with a setting that requires a password for every purchase. This will apply across every device that your account is logged into.
Find out how to turn this setting on over at the PlayStation website.
If you share your account with kids, also check out the various parental controls you can add to your console, whether it's a hard monthly spending limit for the store or controls for online content.
Open Your PS4 In Safe Mode
Booting in Safe Mode can help troubleshoot and fix errors in your console. Safe Mode brings up a number of options that can solve some of the common problems that afflict the console. This article on the PS4 help site will take you through all the Safe Mode options and what
Make sure you back up your data before you try out Safe Mode, as it can potentially wipe your console!
Get A Dust Cover
Moving on to the physical problems your console might face, dust is one thing that can wreak havoc on your PS4. Getting a dust cover can protect your console, and save you from having to clean dust out of all the PS4's little fiddly bits.
Check out this handy dust cover on Amazon for just $14.99, with models for the original PS4, the PS4 Slim and the PS4 Pro.
Protect Your PS4 From Overheating
One thing that can brick your console like nothing else is overheating, which is only going to be more of a problem as we head into summer. If you haven't been using a dust cover, dust can be one of the main causes of overheating. It's worth investing in a compressed air duster can to periodically clean your PS4 (and other tech) from dust.
Make sure your PS4 is kept in a place where it can intake enough air to keep it cool - for this it's better to store it horizontally than vertically - and to make sure there's enough space behind the console for good airflow. If you have to store it vertically, consider investing in a cooling stand that will help your PS4's airflow.
Use A Surge Protector
If you're not already using a surge protector or surge-protected powerboard with your PS4, it's time to change that. As a device that stores a lot of your important and hard-won data, you don't want a stray power surge from a lightning storm or a neighbour's Christmas lights to fritz it. Check out Amazon's range of surge protectors and power boards here.