Is it too easy to re­set my pass­word?

Mac Format - - APPLE TALK -

Q In MF277 you ex­plain how I can re­set my OS X pass­word us­ing Re­cov­ery mode. This sounds very easy, which on one hand is great, but on the other hand sounds a lit­tle too easy. Surely any old ran­dom Joe could stroll up to my Mac and restart it in Re­cov­ery mode and pick a new pass­word – with no se­cu­rity checks? If you could clar­ify, I’d be much less para­noid! Harry Thoms

A You’re right. It’s su­per easy and your lo­gin pass­word ba­si­cally only keeps out ca­sual snoop­ers. You don’t need to sup­ply the old pass­word – just boot into Re­cov­ery mode and you can re­set any pass­word di­rectly – even the root pass­word. This needs phys­i­cal ac­cess to the Mac though; you can’t boot into Re­cov­ery mode re­motely. And if any­one did this ma­li­ciously, you would re­alise some­thing was up as soon as you tried to log in your­self.

If you want more se­cu­rity than this, you can en­able File Vault to en­crypt your hard disk. File Vault changes the boot se­quence, so you in­put a pass­word be­fore you can boot into Re­cov­ery mode. If you for­get the File Vault pass­word and re­cov­ery key all your data is gone for­ever, so make sure you re­ally need that kind of se­cu­rity.

While FileVault makes your hard disk much more se­cure, be aware that at the same time, it’s also much more vul­ner­a­ble to your own mis­takes.

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