Is it too easy to reset my password?
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.