If you've received a malicious message with three heart emojis followed by a question mark box symbol, chances are your PS4 has frozen up and either needed a factory reset or a database rebuild to correct it.
In several threads on the r/PS4 Reddit board, users are reporting that they are receiving messages through the console's messaging application that are hard locking their consoles. "Messages" via the Sony Entertainment Network website and clicking the edit button near Messages to change your default settings. In a post titled "WARNING: Set your messages to private", user Huntstark1 describes a scenario where nearly their whole team got booted out of a Rainbow Six: Siege match after they all received a message containing an unrecognized character. Some users are claiming that deleting said message through the PlayStation mobile app fixes the issue, but others suggest that it doesn't always work. It seems like some bad actors on PSN are using these messages to knock people offline in competitive games, given their own team an advantage. Now I can't access the home menu.
- On the PS4, just navigate to Settings Account Management Privacy Settings Personal Info/Messaging, and set Messages to either "friends only" or "no one".
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At the time of writing, PlayStation has not acknowledged the bug or issued a solution, so to ensure your console is safe and avoid a factory reset, we recommend changing your settings.
If you haven't been affected by this bug and want to protect yourself, the way to do that is to restrict messaging on your console to PlayStation 4 to friends only.