Installing the Xcode command line tools on 10.7.x and later

February 2, 2015 5 comments

A number of Mac admins need to provide the Xcode Command Line Tools for the Macs in their environments, either as part of building machines or afterwards. To help with this task, I’ve developed a script that will download and install the Xcode Command Line Tools on Macs running 10.7.x and higher. See below the jump for more details.

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Managing Yosemite’s FileVault 2 with fdesetup

February 2, 2015 7 comments

With the release of Yosemite, Apple has continued to add functionality to fdesetup, a valuable command-line tool for enabling, administering and disabling Apple’s FileVault 2 encryption. This tool gives Mac administrators the following command-line abilities:

  • Enable or disable FileVault 2 encryption on a particular Mac
  • Use a personal recovery key, an institutional recovery key, or both kinds of recovery key.
  • Enable one or multiple user accounts at the time of encryption
  • Get a list of FileVault 2-enabled users on a particular machine
  • Add additional users after FileVault has been enabled
  • Remove users from the list of FileVault enabled accounts
  • Add, change or remove individual and institutional recovery keys
  • Report which recovery keys are in use
  • Perform a one-time reboot that bypasses the FileVault pre-boot login
  • Report on the status of FileVault 2 encryption or decryption

I’ll be taking you through all of the capabilities mentioned above, with a focus on showing exactly how they work. See below the jump for details.

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FileVault 2 deferred enablement in Yosemite

January 31, 2015 Leave a comment

One of the requirements when enabling an account for FileVault 2 is that the account’s own password must be provided in order for the account to be enabled. This is because the account’s password is used to generate a unique derived key via PBKDF2. This key is necessary for the account to unlock FileVault 2’s encryption, so the account’s password must be provided in order to enable an account.

Apple recognized that there would be situations where Mac admins would need to set up FileVault 2 for a person where the admin would not have the password for that person’s user account. To avoid the immediate need to enter a password, fdesetup has a -defer flag in Mountain Lion, Mavericks and Yosemite that can be used with fdesetup‘s enable verb to delay enabling FileVault 2 until after the current (or next) user logs out. With the -defer flag, the user will be prompted for their password at their next logout or restart. The recovery key information is not generated until the user password is obtained, so the -defer option requires a file location where this information will be written to as a plist file.

Screen Shot 2015-01-31 at 12.33.03 PM

The property list file will be created as a root-only readable file and contain information similar to what’s show below.

Screen Shot 2015-01-31 at 12.30.24 PM

Note: For security reasons, the plist file with the recovery key information should not stay on the encrypted system. Please copy it to a safe location and then securely delete this plist file from the encrypted system.

Run the following command with root privileges to defer enabling FileVault 2 and specify the account you want:

fdesetup enable -user username -defer /path/to/filename.plist

Screen Shot 2015-01-31 at 2.23.07 PM

If there is no user account specified with the -user option, then the current logged-in user will be enabled for FileVault 2. If there is no user specified and no users are logged in when the command is run, then the next user that logs in will be chosen and enabled.

If you don’t want to specify the account, run the following command with root privileges:

fdesetup enable -defer /path/to/filename.plist

Screen Shot 2015-01-31 at 2.24.49 PM

On logout, the user will be prompted to enter their account password.

Screen Shot 2015-01-31 at 10.57.19 AM

Once entered, FileVault 2 will be enabled and the recovery information plist file will be created. Once the enabling process is complete, the Mac will restart.

Screen Shot 2015-01-31 at 10.57.20 AM

An important thing to keep in mind about the –defer option is that it enables one single user account at the time of turning on FileVault 2 encryption. The –defer option does not enable multiple user accounts and cannot be used to enable accounts once FileVault 2 encryption has been turned on.

In Yosemite, Apple added new options for fdesetup‘s -defer flag. These new options now allow Mac admins to set a deferred enablement with the following options:

  1. Enforce FileVault 2 enablement at logout
  2. Enforce FileVault 2 enablement at login
  3. Enforce FileVault 2 enablement at both login and logout

For more information, see below the jump.

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Downloading and deploying Adobe Flash Player 16.0.0.296

January 26, 2015 4 comments

Over the weekend of January 24th, Adobe released Adobe Flash Player 16.0.0.296 to fix a critical vulnerability. This update was available for installation via the Flash auto-update, but there was nothing available for a manual download. This lack of a separate download meant that Mac admins didn’t have a way to get an installer for distribution to the Macs in their environments.

Adobe has stated that a manual download will be available during the week of January 26, but for the moment, it appears that the auto-update mechanism is the only way Adobe is distributing this update.

Fortunately, thanks to research by Greg Neagle and Per Olofsson, there appears to be a way to leverage AutoPkg to generate the needed installer package. See below the jump for details.


Update 1-26-2015: A 16.0.0.296 installer is now available on the Adobe Flash Player Distribution site (not linked because you gain access to the site after getting a valid Adobe Flash Player Distribution License Agreement in place.)



Update 2 – 1-26-2015: The AutoPkg download recipe for Adobe Flash has been updated to now download and decode the install_all_mac_pl_sgn.z file from Adobe’s Flash Player update feed for Macs. If you’re using AutoPkg, update your repos and you should get the changes. For more information on the actual recipe changes, see here.


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Yosemite’s FileVault 2 pre-boot recovery options

January 17, 2015 2 comments

One of the changes that Apple has introduced with Yosemite is a more straightforward way to recover from login problems at the FileVault 2 pre-boot login screen.

When a FileVault 2-encrypted Mac sits for more than a minute with an account selected at the FileVault 2 pre-boot login screen, a message like the one below should appear:

If you’re having a problem entering your password, press and hold the power button on your Mac to shut it down. Then press it again to start it up in the Recovery OS.

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 1.40.50 PM

If the instructions are followed, the Mac will boot from the Mac’s recovery partition on the next startup and go into a Reset Password wizard.

In the Reset Password wizard, there are currently three options available.

  1. I forgot my password
  2. My password doesn’t work when logging in
  3. My keyboard isn’t working when typing my password to login

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 8.20.23 AM

Each option will do different things, so let’s take a look at each. For more details, see below the jump.

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Oracle’s Java 8 and Mac OS X 10.7.x

January 10, 2015 Leave a comment

With Oracle’s Java 8, there’s been some confusion as to whether Java 8 runs on Mac OS X 10.7.5. This issue was lent additional urgency in the wake of Oracle’s announcement that they will begin auto-updating Java 7 users to Java 8 starting in January 2015.

The root of the confusion lies in the fact that Oracle has listed two different sets of system requirements on their website for Macs running Java 8 on Mac OS X.

The first set is available via Oracle’s general Java system requirements page. This page states that Java 8 requires the following:

  • Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.8.3+, 10.9+
  • Administrator privileges for installation
  • 64-bit browser

The second set is available via the Java download page for Mac OS X. The system requirements linked from the download page state that Oracle’s Java requires the following:

  • Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.7.3 (Lion) or later.
  • Administrator privileges for installation
  • 64-bit browser

In short, the question of Java 8 support for 10.7.x depended on which system requirement page was correct. For more details, see below the jump.

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Hiding user accounts in Yosemite

December 31, 2014 5 comments

On December 8th, 2014, Apple posted a KBase article showing a way to hide user accounts in Yosemite that was different than the methods available in previous versions of OS X.

In Yosemite, you can add an IsHidden user attribute to the user’s account record and set a specific value in order to hide or unhide the account:

  • Hide: Set the IsHidden user attribute’s value to 1
  • Unhide: Set the IsHidden user attribute’s value to 0

It’s also possible to unhide a hidden account by deleting the IsHidden user attribute from the user’s account record. For more details, see below the jump.

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