There's a major security flaw in macOS that gives anyone admin access

Lemi Orhan Ergin on Twitter:

The bug didn't work on a Mac with older software.

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". Just click the lock, and when macOS prompts you for a password, replace the user name with "root", select the password field (but don't type in a password), and click Unlock.

Note that disabling the root user does not fix this, as you'll still be able to bypass it.

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Ergin reports it may take clicking the OK button a couple of times, but the "feature" has worked reliably for many people already. Changing the root password is the workaround for now. If Change Root Password is grayed out, you may have to choose Edit Enable Root User first. "We'll meet up with you there". And, as most security experts would attest, physical access will eventually trump any logical security you may have in place.

The vulnerability was publicly disclosed on Twitter this afternoon; it's not clear whether the problem was privately reported to Apple ahead of time, which is the encouraged practice when security vulnerabilities are uncovered. Fortunately, there is a simple fix for this until Apple patches this inexplicable bug: Change the root account's password now.

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Soon after Ergin's tweet, a flood of security researchers and writers confirmed the bug works as described - whether attempting to access an administrator's account on an unlocked Mac, or trying to gain access via the login screen of a locked Mac. That is the full Unix root account, which has superuser privileges that enable it to see and modify any file in any account.

Click, then enter an administrator name and password.

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