If anything, last week’s news about the hotfix released for Apple’s MacOS X High Sierra left me ashamed. Ashamed about Apple’s apparent lack of quality control, but maybe be even more about myself. I didn’t do the one thing Rejo Zenger of Bits of Freedom says we should always do: Question everything!
As you may have heard, there was a security problem with Apple’s High Sierra operating system. It turned out that you did not need a root password to log in as the root user. Basically if you used the command line to access the root and wanted to change users but did not know the password, you could hit ‘unlock’ a couple of times, and it would grant you access.
Since it is not uncommon for people to leave their computer unattended in a room, sometimes even without locking their screen, anybody could get access to the laptop’s root system and browse through files, change settings and whatnot. This is a big flaw. The bug was announced on Twitter first and Apple quickly released a hotfix (which lead to some other problems) and issued an apology, saying “We greatly regret this error and we apologize to all Mac users (…)”
I felt ashamed when I read the news: I’ve always known Apple as being reliable when it comes to its updates and security. I mean, they’ve been using a Unix-like system for a long time now, and it is good system to use. So how this could have happened, baffles me.
But even more I felt ashamed with myself. Because it only then made me realise that there was an important question that I’ve should have asked myself much earlier: ‘If I wanted to switch to the root user, what password would I require to log on?’ And it baffled me I’ve never thought about it until now. It is my job to ask these questions!
I wish I could give a reason as to why I never stopped to think about it. But I can’t. What I can say is that it made me realise even more that we should never stop doing what we do best: question everything!