Huge macOS Bug Allows Root Login Without a Password. Here's the Fix

Delia Watkins
November 29, 2017

However, The Verge has been able to confirm the major security issue remains present as of MacOS 10.13.1, the current release of High Sierra. This is a level of access that is well in excess of a normal admin account that is created when adding users on a Mac.

Who is affected by High Sierra "root" bug?

The flaw was publicized Tuesday on Twitter by Lemi Orhan Ergin, a software engineer based in Turkey. You really shouldn't leave your Mac unattended at all until Apple fixes this, and you should shut off guest access for your device.

The attacker needs only to head to Users & Groups, click the lock at bottom-left, then try to log in as "root" with no password.

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Ben Johnson, the chief technology officer of Obsidian Security and a former U.S. National Security Agency computer scientist, described the flaw to IBT as "a hacker's dream". Apple ID email addresses tied to users on the Mac can be removed and altered, as well.

According to reports (meaning we haven't tested this), this isn't an issue on older versions of the OS.

Apple has not yet officially fixed - let alone commented on - this critical bug.

An attacker can for instance enter root as the username in the users and groups preferences setting, leaving the password field blank, and clicking on the unlock button. You can do this from the user login screen. Go to Apple's support page here for more information about how that works. Click the lock to make changes and enter the administrator name and password. Then from the menu bar at the top of the screen, click on the "Edit" menu and choose "Enable Root User". So, keep the account enabled and set a root password right now.

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