Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Macs: Even More Vulnerable Than I Aready Knew!

A client called that had changed the password on their Mac (OSX 10.7.3) and forgot what they changed it to. It needed to be reset, but they had no way of logging in to reset it.

I did a little research and quickly came up with a simple process that was shocking! Simply:
  • Starting the Mac with two keys pressed brought it up in a terminal session logged in as root (the most authoritative user on the system).
  • Three simple commands produced a list of all users on the computer (their short names), and
  • One more command allowed me to change any of those users' passwords to whatever I wanted.
  • Then a simple reboot allowed me to login as them with their new password, giving me access to all of their files!
It really is that easy to completely hijack a Mac and all of its contents!

Are you kidding me, Apple?!!? Can't you at least require a password or some other methodology to protect the files on your computers?

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Dumbing Down of America

Americans are being trained by many around us to care about things that don't matter.  I live in Southern California, and today's main news story is that we have a major winter storm coming.  In fact, we are under storm watch! The details of this story that consumes about 20% of our local newscasts are that the storm may dump as much as one tenth of an inch of rain and we may experience some cold drizzle!  That's the biggest story on the news here!

Newscasters are motivated by what gets them ratings.  I get that, and Storm Watch works.  What they're not doing is boring us with the details about why our fuel prices are rising or why the U.S. is losing ground on the world leadership front.  Those don't produce ratings, and they also don't fit the political perspectives that many on the news media have.

What would happen if someone did an in-depth study on the reasons behind why our fuel prices are rising to historic levels?  They'd find it could be fixed by the public putting pressure on our political system to allow domestic drilling and require a high percentage of domestic oil be sold in the U.S.

What about the world leadership front?  They'd find it's the policy decisions our politicians are setting that are driving us into debt and that are causing world opinion to lose respect for the U.S.

When was the last time you saw something on the news about these or about how many millions are stolen from credit card users because they don't reconcile their monthly statements?  Merchants now ask us if we want receipts in a supposed effort to save the environment.  They're really cutting their overhead, while at the same time teaching consumers to not reconcile their statement (how can they without receipts?).  (This is also the real reason behind why hotels no longer change bedding daily.)

The news could serve the public if it wanted to.  It would mean going against newscasters' political perspectives, though, and most aren't willing to do that.  And their supposition that it would drop their ratings is false!  Americans are hungry for truth and for help.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

“IT Crash” Takes on New Meaning

Today I’m flying to the Texas Ministry Conference in Houston.  My connecting flight in Dallas is delayed, and because I’m speaking tomorrow at the conference I talked with the airline personnel to determine if this flight would go or if I should take another one.

When he shared the nature of the mechanical delay, I was surprised!  The maintenance folks are trying to get the printer in the cockpit online-- without it they cannot fly!  Being an IT pro, I guess I should have offered my services…

Friday, February 3, 2012

New Article: Consumerization of IT

Computer use is going through a significant change… one that is challenging the status quo of most church and ministry networks. The IT world refers to it as the Consumerization of IT, and it is growing.

This has become a hot topic among church and ministry leaders, so I wrote an article about it that I hope you find helpful.  Click here to read it!