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.

Reports have been circulating this weekend of a message that freezes and effectively bricks the PlayStation 4 from any kind of interaction. The origin of the message is unknown, however the first recorded mention of the bug came from Reddit and all instances sighted so far seem to include three heart emojis followed by a question mark box symbol, which then causes the system to crash and brick.

So far, Sony have made no official statement on the matter, however outlets such as Kotaku, Polygon and others have sought comment or clarification from Sony on the matter. The only way to combat the malicious message currently is to either turn off messages entirely or only receive messages from people you know and trust.

To do this, you need to go into Account Management in your console settings, find the Privacy Settings subheading and flip the Messaging settings from 'Public' to 'Friends Only' or 'No One'. This will stop you receiving messages from anyone who hasn't added you as a Friend or from receiving it in the middle of matches.

If you're unfortunate enough to have received the malicious message, you can still access the PS4 by putting it into Safe Mode.

To do that, you'll need to turn off the PS4 system by pressing the power button on the front panel. The power indicator will blink for a few moments before turning off. Once the PS4 system is off, press and hold the power button again. Release it after you hear the second beep: one beep will sound when you first press, and another seven seconds later. Connect the controller via the USB cable and press the PS button on the controller.

Once you've done that, you'll be shown the Safe Mode menu. Again, from what we've read so far, rebuilding the database is enough to correct the error - so choose that option and see what happens.

You can check out the original Reddit thread on the issue here.