Have you been playing Pokemon Sword and Shield recently? Or been interested in the game’s online features now Pokemon Home has been made available to use?
If so, you may want to be careful online. That’s because hackers are apparently sending maliciously created Pokemon through the trade system that can crash the game when received, with the effects being bad enough to block your usage of said online features altogether. Here’s the warning about it from Kurt/Kaphotics, a known programmer/dataminer who’s often investigated the code for the series:
Beware! There's a bug in Sword/Shield that can crash your game if you receive a maliciously crafted Pokémon via Surprise Trade. It'll crash your game when you try to access online features (via Y-COM), preventing online interactions until a patch is released.
— Kurt (@Kaphotics) February 12, 2020
In other words, be careful with Surprise Trade. If you’re unlucky and receive a hacked Pokemon with certain data set, it can basically make certain online features unusable.
Fortunately though, that’s not due to any actual damage to the game. No, it’s due to the Y-Com (online system) trying to retrieve the corrupted Pokemon every time you connect to it. However, since the game can’t handle this data, it crashes every time, preventing use of the system in the process.
So yeah, be careful when using the Surprise Trade feature, or perhaps online trading in general. Otherwise there’s a small but worrying chance you’ll be unable to use it ever again.
Here’s hoping Game Freak release a patch for the bug soon!