Faulty Google Chrome update makes Mac Pros in Hollywood grind to a halt

Janko Roettgers for Variety:

A serious data corruption issue that resulted in Mac Pro workstations being rendered unusable at a number of Hollywood studios Monday was likely caused by a browser update gone haywire: Google told Mac Pro users Tuesday evening that an update to its Chrome browser is likely to fault for the issue, which particularly impacted video editors across Hollywood and beyond.

“We recently discovered that a Chrome update may have shipped with a bug that damages the file system on MacOS machines,” the company wrote in a forum post. “We’ve paused the release while we finalize a new update that addresses the problem.”

“Avid is pleased that the reboot issue facing some customers is solved and while Avid products are not the root cause, we’re keeping an intense focus on bringing all of our customers back online and back to work,” said Avid CEO Jeff Rosica… The real culprit was apparently a recent release of Google’s Keystone software, which is included in its Chrome browser to automatically download updates of the browser. On computers that had Apple’s System Integrity Protection disabled, the update corrupted the computer’s file system, making it impossible to reboot. System Integrity Protection is an Apple technology that is meant to ensure that malicious software doesn’t corrupt core system files.

MacDailyNews Take: Google. Not surprising, but regardless of the culprit, computers that store and edit multi-million dollar content shouldn’t be connected to the Internet.

18 Comments

  1. On computers that had Apple’s System Integrity Protection disabled, the update corrupted the computer’s file system, making it impossible to reboot. System Integrity Protection is an Apple technology that is meant to ensure that malicious software doesn’t corrupt core system files.

    If a user-space browser update is able to somehow bypass the Mac’s SIP to corrupt system files that SIP is meant to protect, doesn’t Apple bear some responsibility too?

    1. According to the news reports, the video production shops using the Mac Pros had disabled the SIP in order to use external graphics boards. There’s actually plenty of blame to go around: Apple, for not updating the Mac Pro, forcing users to turn off a basic security feature to get extra performance; Google for a sloppy update; and the companies who got their Macs bricked for using Chrome in the first place…

      1. First blame is on Google. Clearly does NOT test their updates on SIP-disabled Macs. How much you wanna bet that changed yesterday?

        Next blame is on Apple — this article doesn’t call it out, but it was clear in the support channel working this out that some machines with SIP enabled were affected. SIP was not protecting /var/ in the way it was expected to.

        Last possible blame is on Avid (and not really) — it sounds like a significant bunch of their customers are running with SIP disabled. I’m guessing they knew about it and the various reasons for it.

    2. Did you even read your own post? The users that were/are affected explicitly turned off SIP. It is NOT Apple’s fault that users are so stupid as to turn SIP off and then allow ANY external source to automatically modify files as in Google’s automatic update system.

      Google’s update did not “bypass” SIP. The users turned it off.

      If a user takes a sledge hammer to their Mac Pro (even the despicable trash can Mac Pro) then it does not work, is it Apple’s fault that the computer no longer works. The same can be said here.

      1. Nope it’s Apple’s fault for playing a silly idiotic game with Nvidia. Apple needs to back the hell off and support all that users need or face the consequences. Not up to Apple which graphics cards I choose to use.

        1. Hate to break it to ya but it kinda is up to Apple to say what card is supported by their hardware & OS. This is not a Windows PC. If you want the flexibility you need a PC not a Mac.

          1. That is a complete and utter load of crap. Apple does not get to decide! If it’s called “Pro” it needs to be all that entails which means flexibility. They don’t have to go out of their way too to make it difficult. This makes Apple amateurs.

      1. “Safari is the best..” is obviously debatable. Personally I find it to be rubbish, but “why” is easily answered without even going into individual edge cases:

        Flash. G Suite enhancements.

    1. Judging by the down-casting, folks here have never used a video or audio editor with cloud integration or licensing/activation needs. Apps like Avid Media Composer and Adobe Premiere can link to clips on cloud sites like Pond5 to integrate footage into their timeline during editing.

      But I suppose newbie wannabe viddie editors know better than folks that have been working in digital video for 20+ years, so I guess we all should just pull the (internet) plug and work with legacy and self-generated content on old editors and computers.

      And I guess the nay-sayers have never worked with Pro Tools, Adobe Premiere or Avid, which all require some sort of internet connection for licensing and software activation. C’est la vie.

    2. Except they are correct. If not blocked from Internet, then at least secured with updates like this under IT control, not at the whim of some Avid artist or Chrome auto-update feature.
      MDN were re-quoting the original article: The reason that so many machines were affected by a corrupted Chrome update can likely be attributed to those machines being connected to the internet — something Hollywood security experts have long advised against.

    3. You should not be connected to the internet with that type of money at stake, a laptop off to the side if you must (not connected in any way to that Avid system), don’t do it unless you like being fired. Certain type of things (high security computer projects) can’t connected to the internet.

  2. it’s not a bad idea if your computer is working on material worth millions of dollars to perhaps add some added protection by not always having it connected to the Internet. Course routine backups would be good too, though its not clear from what I’ve seen so far that they were not.. If they had routine backups, or Time Machine running, good for them. If not, somewhere along the line you can pay a price.

    As fas as Apple and Nvidia, contrary to the popular belief that Apple is playing games with them, how do you know its not the other way around and Nvidia is paying a price for that.. Apple can chose who they want to work with to add GPU’s or anything else to their hardware.

    Google should pay a bigger price than oops for pushing out a damaging update.. And companies may now realize that disabling SIP on a permanent basis is a bad idea.

  3. First and main blame is on IT policy for allowing automatic updates to be turned on. All updated in a production environment MUST be tested before being distributed around the workplace. I was a SysAdmin and no patches were ever installed with first being installed and tested in lab.

    After that everyone can point at each other on who’s fault it is.

  4. With with close to 40 years experience with computers — Apple, Windows, Linux — I have learned to avoid Alphabet (Google), Facebook, and Microsoft software as much as possible. I have rid myself of Windows entirely, avoid Alphabet/Google and Facebook like the plague.

    This philosophy hs served me well.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.