Why it matters: Occasionally someone finds a way to lock up a device by sending a certain message to it. Usually these messages contain text or special characters that the machine just can't understand, and it gets stalled. Over the weekend, PS4 users were experiencing such a bug and thought it was bricking their console. Fortunately there is a fix.
Last Saturday VG24/7 reported that a malicious PlayStation 4 messaging bug had been discovered and was “bricking consoles.” It urged users to change their privacy settings to either Friends or No One for messages until Sony could fix the problem.
Today Sony announced that it had squashed the bug and clarified that affected consoles were not bricked. The malicious messages were actually sending PS4s into a “crash loop,” the company tweeted. This non-functioning state is straightforward to fix so don’t throw out that console just yet.
We've since fixed the issue, and it wasn't bricking consoles, just sending them into a crash loop that can be quickly fixed in under 5 minutes. Delete the message on the PS mobile app, go into Safe Mode, use Option 5, console back to normal. ^DB— Ask PlayStation UK (@AskPS_UK) October 15, 2018
According to Sony’s advice, you first have to delete the offending message. You can do this through the PlayStation mobile app available for iOS and Android. Then you need to start the PS4 in Safe Mode.
To do this, turn off the console by pushing the power button on the front. Once it is completely off, press and hold the power button again until the PS4 beeps twice. It should take about 7 seconds for the second beep to sound. The console will then come on in Safe Mode and you can connect a controller and press the PS button.
You will see several choices (see screen above). Select option 5: Rebuild Database. Once the DB is done fixing itself, restart the PS4, and everything should be back to normal.
As a side note: Rebuilding the PS4's database is also a good option if you are frequently experiencing games freezing or frame rate drops. It is similar to Windows defragging function as it reorganizes everything on the hard drive.