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Removing Mac Passwords


sablefoxx
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Just ran into this the other day, thought it was very useful so I thought I'd share it. Everyone knows you can easily reset Mac OSX passwords with the OSX install disc, but what if you don't have the disc? Well its actually pretty easy.

- Hold down AppleKey + S at boot

- In the terminal type;

mount -uw /
rm /var/db/.AppleSetupDone
shutdown -h now

Reboot, and the Mac will let you create a new admin account, thinking that it is the first time you have powered on the system. You can then use the new account to reset the other account's passwords, or just access the system.

======================================================================

( my not work on all versions of OSx )

If you want to stop people from doing this on your computer, you can require that they have the root password to use single-user mode.

To require entry of the root password for single-user mode:

1 Log in as an administrator.

2 Start the Terminal application, located in /Applications/Utilities.

3 At the prompt, enter the command: $ cd /etc

4 To create a backup copy of /etc/ttys, enter the command:

$ sudo mv ttys ttys.old

5 To edit the ttys file as root, enter the command: $ sudo pico ttys

6 Replace all occurrences of the word “secure” with the word “insecure” in the

configuration lines of the file. Any line that does not begin with a “#” is a configuration

line.

7 Exit, saving changes.

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Physical access defeats all password security always. On all operating systems.

It wont defeat encryption, but if you are relying on passwords alone, even bios passwords, then physical access = you are screwed.

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Physical access defeats all password security always. On all operating systems.

It wont defeat encryption, but if you are relying on passwords alone, even bios passwords, then physical access = you are screwed.

Well said, and i think everyone here agrees with, Physical Access == Game Over. Generally though you'll need an additional tool to compromise the systems security, such as a Linux Live disc, or a thumb drive. What i found really cool about this method is that it requires no additional tools, (but physical access) to read all the files, create user accounts, or remove passwords.

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I feel like apples saying "hey come break into my customer's computers"...

Word gets out of this to Apple I'm sure Apples going to patch it so enjoy while you can everyone.

Not really, I dont see how this is different to any other BSD or Linux based OS. You can always boot to single user mode on any of these systems and from there you can make a new admin user, no extra tools required.

These OS's needed to be repairable long before bootable CD's and USB thumbs were available.

The ability to create a new admin account on a computer and from there wreak damages is a concern, but if you allow unsupervised physical access to people with the knowledge and desire to do this then the outcome is not the fault of the software.

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Not really, I dont see how this is different to any other BSD or Linux based OS. You can always boot to single user mode on any of these systems and from there you can make a new admin user, no extra tools required.

I don't speak for everyone but my Ubuntu requires the root password to log into single user mode. (not that it cant be bypassed using a live disc)

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I don't speak for everyone but my Ubuntu requires the root password to log into single user mode.

That doesn't stop someone from booting with a cd though. It's still the same thing really, if you have physical access to the machine, passwords don't matter.

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I don't speak for everyone but my Ubuntu requires the root password to log into single user mode. (not that it cant be bypassed using a live disc)

Actually, you don't even need the CD.

When your computer starts up enter the grub menu and select the last kernel entry and press 'e'. delete all but the kernel line and put an 's' at the end of the line. i.e. (for fedora):

change

    kernel /vmlinuz-2.6.27.21-170.2.56.fc10.i686 ro root=/dev/VolGroup00/LogVol00 rhgb quiet

to

    kernel /vmlinuz-2.6.27.21-170.2.56.fc10.i686 ro root=/dev/VolGroup00/LogVol00 s

wait a few moments and you'll have a root shell. No login for run level 1! [not sure of the entry for ubuntu will look like]

Grub password? 1. Live CD. 2. Follow above.

Any way you see it, and like everyone else has said, physical access NEVER FAILS!

[well, maybe full disk encryption......]

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thats an awesome tick, ill have to remember that one

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  • 4 weeks later...

If you want to stop people from doing this on your computer, you can require that they have the root password to use single-user mode.

To require entry of the root password for single-user mode:

1 Log in as an administrator.

2 Start the Terminal application, located in /Applications/Utilities.

3 At the prompt, enter the command: $ cd /etc

4 To create a backup copy of /etc/ttys, enter the command:

$ sudo mv ttys ttys.old

5 To edit the ttys file as root, enter the command: $ sudo pico ttys

6 Replace all occurrences of the word “secure” with the word “insecure” in the

configuration lines of the file. Any line that does not begin with a “#” is a configuration

line.

7 Exit, saving changes.

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If you want to stop people from doing this on your computer, you can require that they have the root password to use single-user mode.

To require entry of the root password for single-user mode:

1 Log in as an administrator.

2 Start the Terminal application, located in /Applications/Utilities.

3 At the prompt, enter the command: $ cd /etc

4 To create a backup copy of /etc/ttys, enter the command:

$ sudo mv ttys ttys.old

5 To edit the ttys file as root, enter the command: $ sudo pico ttys

6 Replace all occurrences of the word “secure” with the word “insecure” in the

configuration lines of the file. Any line that does not begin with a “#” is a configuration

line.

7 Exit, saving changes.

Doesn't work.

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I don't speak for everyone but my Ubuntu requires the root password to log into single user mode. (not that it cant be bypassed using a live disc)

No need for a live CD, when you're in edit mode, instead of passing the single user flag use this

init=/bin/sh

This will drop you straight into a shell instead of starting up the normal /sbin/init. You will have to remount the / file system read write and maybe mount other file systems but every thing else should be there for you to remove or change any user password you need to.

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6 Replace all occurrences of the word "secure" with the word "insecure" in the

configuration lines of the file. Any line that does not begin with a "#" is a configuration

line.

Doesn't work.

Don't you mean replace "insecure" with "secure"? I'd think for it to secure the shell so you must enter a password it would need to be "secure"...

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Don't you mean replace "insecure" with "secure"? I'd think for it to secure the shell so you must enter a password it would need to be "secure"...

No, you're telling it the console ports are in an "insecure" location, and need a password specified. I'm running 10.5.7 and this doesn't work though. Hell, I even changed the commented out parts, still no joy. I like how the beginning of the file says to "enable an open firmware password". I've not tried with the new efi machines, but when they still had open firmware, the password could be reset by pulling one stick of ram and rebooting.

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