NIP Tip: Hack a Mac in 10 Seconds

Apple-Mac-PC-300x203This technique for rooting a Mac is not new but I just wanted to document this method here for future reference. Simply boot up your Mac and hold the Command-S key combination down. Once the computer is up you will be in single-user mode and can pretty much do whatever you want. The article I pulled this method from goes on to discuss other nefarious tricks using the USB Rubber Ducky or just a standard flash drive.


Often times, physical access to a machine means game over. While people like to think that OSX is immune to most security threats, even Apple computers can be susceptible to physical attacks. Mac OSX is capable of booting into single user mode by holding a special key combination (Command-S). From this point, an attacker has root access to the entire computer. Note that this is not a security exploit, but rather an intentionally designed feature. While of course the intruder needs to be physically present, this can become a huge security problem. (There is proven method for preventing this attack that I will cover at the end of the article.)

Since physical access to the machine is required, time is precious and must be cut to a minimum. There are two methods for optimizing time, scripts and a little tool called the USB Rubber Ducky. The Rubber Ducky is small HID that looks like a flash drive and acts like a keyboard. It is designed to pound out scripts at freakish speeds, as if you were typing it yourself. Of course, a flash drive will work too.

This backdoor is almost identical to the basic backdoor described in OSX Backdoor – Persistence. Read that article if you would like to better understand the inner workings of this backdoor. Similarly, we will create a script that sends a shell back home through netcat. Finally, we will add the script as a Launch Daemons where it will be executed as root every 60 seconds.

Continued here.

(Note: As part of a campaign to bring forward some of our older posts that we feel still benefit the community, we’ve added this article to our Best Of category that will periodically get tweeted out. Please mention it to me on Twitter or contact us if there are any other posts you feel we should include in this category. This post was previously categorized under News. [email protected]grecs)


Today’s post pic is from

2 comments for “NIP Tip: Hack a Mac in 10 Seconds

  1. January 12, 2014 at 11:52 pm

    NIP Tip: Hack a Mac in 10 Seconds

  2. January 13, 2014 at 12:17 am

    NIP Tip: Hack a Mac in 10 Seconds #InfoSec

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