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

Lemi Orhan Ergin on Twitter:

Essentially, the bug allows someone to either login to your Mac or unlock System Preferences by using the user name "root" and a blank password. That is the full Unix root account, which has superuser privileges that enable it to see and modify any file in any account.

This flaw is significant but the risk to most users is quite low.

A user reported the issue earlier today, but initially it wasn't specified which version of Mac OS High Sierra was affected, what machines, or anything other than what the problem was. Apple is generally good about patching issues like this quickly but for now, machines will remain vulnerable until they can push any updates.

It can't be stressed enough: This is a critical security flaw that all Apple laptop and desktop owners shouldn't ignore.

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

Lemi Orhan Ergin on Twitter:
WARNING: Huge Bug Discovered macOS High Sierra, Lets Anyone Log In as Root Without Password

Apple is yet to comment, but I suspect a quick trip to the locksmith is in order.

The exploit can be run in System Preferences. Select Open Directory Utility click the lock icon in the Directory Utility window then enter your admin name and password again.

Let's make this clear: this is a huge mistake on Apple's part, even if there's a relatively simple fix. Click "Login Options", then click "Join", which appears next to the text "Network Account Server". Then from the menu bar at the top of the screen, click on the "Edit" menu and choose "Enable Root User". Changing the root password is the workaround for now. Users can prevent an attacker from exploiting a bug by creating a "root" account themselves and giving it a custom password.

Once a password has been set for the "root" account, the flaw that allows a person to login as "root" with no password will no longer work.

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