Post Production

AVID editors (editors in general) be on alert about this potential rebooting issue. UPDATE: Google’s fault

This problem started making the rounds a couple of days ago but really kicked into high gear yesterday

I normally don’t to a lot click-bait, scare-mongering blog posts trying to keep up with some breaking news but there is a rather odd problem that has been cropping up for a day or so around “Hollywood” (I put Hollywood in quotes as this could potentially affect anyone) but it’s this Variety article that is really spreading this story far and wide. This problem is pretty big but I don’t see much in this Variety article than a few tweets, one of which comes from an Adobe employee. It’s the private Avid groups where this is being discussed very diligently with system admins and users helping each other. Avid is aware is working as hard as they can to figure it out even though it’s probably not only an Avid thing. PLEASE SEE THE UPDATE DOWN BELOW AS IT’S LOOKING MORE AND MORE LIKE THIS IS NOT AN AVID PROBLEM.

And Avid has posted this video about the issue and a deeper dive into what is happening and how to fix.

 

And here is the full thread from the Tweet above since it doesn’t seem to want to embed correctly. Thanks Rune for sharing it.

And another possible fix options via Twitter and Juan Salvo who is one smart cookie when it comes to these kinds of things (I’m not commenting on any solution here as I’m clueless, only trying to document):

The bigger thing to follow has been the Avid Editors of Facebook group. This is a closed group and is one of the best forums for all things Media Composer. There are currently over 300 500 comments about this issue in a discussion that began yesterday. This is a close-knit group that doesn’t hesitate to ban someone when they get off topic so I hesitate to post too much from the private discussions but in the interest of helping those that might need more info on this topic I’m going to note a few things I’ve read about this and copy/paste a few helpful things below.

  • It appears to be a combination of a specific Macintosh operating system version and being connected to the internet. Windows seems to be okay.
  • Is it a virus? Unknown as of this writing.
  • Avid is aware and is working on the issue.
  • It’s not just 10.11 but some on 10.12, 10.13 and 10.14 have seen the issue.
  • Both dongles and software licenses could be hit.
  • Early reports said it was “trash can” Mac Pros but other hardware systems seem to have been hit as well.
  • Multiple sites are being “reported” in some of the forums with multiple machines being unable to restart after a shutdown.
  • Seems it could be related to the iLok License Manager but some people think it could be an issue deeper in the OS that causes the iLok to throw up an error.
  • Software may become buggy causing you to want to restart and then the system can be hit with the issue.
  • Could see problems with internet connection in some apps.
  • The issue is happening with multiple vendors of Avid rental systems, not just one and some single users too.
  • I read a few reports of this happening on systems that did not have Avid installed but most all other reports are from people running Avid.
  • It’s not local to Los Angeles.
  • A possible (though maybe temporary) solution could be to reinstall the OS from a recovery disk but not to a full system wipe, but rather install it over the old OS.
  • Cloning a system could clone the problem to the cloned drive so that’s no solution.
  • ProTools systems have been reported to be hit as well.

A ton of credit for the work that is going into figuring this out (at least from the more public-facing discussions about this online) have to go to Rob Kraut who has been working tirelessly since it cropped up. I’m going to post a couple of direct quotes from him that was posted in the Avid Facebook group:

So far the rebuild of the OS has worked and it is being implemented all over town. Contact your Avid vendor about how to do this if you do not know how. If anyone runs into this problem moving forward after this rebuild, definitely post here.

IMPORTANT INFO — If you are still up and running, one quick way to see if you’ve been affected is this: If you know that your Mac OS user is an admin user and not a regular user, go into System Pref, then Users & Groups. If your account is no longer “Admin,” but a regular user, this is a sign that your system has been affected and do not turn it off until you have all of your important stuff backed up!

hold CMD-R when you boot until you see the Apple logo. Let it boot into recovery mode, then reinstall the OS. (If anyone reading this is on a cloned/imaged system this will not work. You can’t clone the recovery partition, so when you hold CMD-R (CMD-OPT-R on older OS’s), it will download a temporary RAM boot recovery partition, then you can reinstall…but be fair warned, it will have to also download the OS installer before it runs… 6gb or so over slow servers.

I think good advice here is that if you’re working with a reseller then contact them about this issue if it has hit your systems. It’s hard to know exactly what the cause is and what to do to keep your system up and running. I think the best advice would be to disconnect your editing system from the internet and do not reboot. But better advice would be to keep reading the official channels from companies like Avid who are working to figure out the issues.

I hesitate to publish this post as I don’t want to spread misinformation nor do I want to promote a person’s services but this from Isaac is good advice (and he is very knowledgable in system admin and NLE system support).

And as much as I hate to say it, I’ll say it again and agree with this tweet, Facebook is the place to go to follow this. If you aren’t already a member of Avid Editors of Facebook you might not get quickly approved as the admins are probably out monitoring all that is going on this morning.

This might seem weird but I tried to replicate this on my portable system with an Avid launch and reboot but it’s running both the latest OS and the latest Media Composer and it booted just fine.

While it was posted above Avid has sent out their official statement via the usual channels:

UPDATE: This might be hitting more than just Avid users (as was partly noted above) but this is the first I’ve seen this mentioned directly on Twitter:

I don’t know anything about SIP but a Google and a read reveal it could be an important thing in this saga. In fact check out this article title as it’s something you might want to do: How to Check if System Integrity Protection (SIP) is Enabled on Mac.

If you want to easily check to see that System Integrity Protection is enabled on your Mac just use the About This Mac > System Report and check under software.

Obviously, this is deadly serious for many out there but we can have a bit of levity with the naming of the day can’t we?

And maybe it isn’t really Avid at all though we do get good info and good puns all in this tweet!!

UPDATE AGAIN and maybe the most important one of the day: This looks like a good post to follow as it’s looking more and more like this is a Google Chrome issue causing all the madness. And Google seems to know about it.


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Scott Simmons was born in rural West Tennessee and didn't really realize that movies and tv had to be made by actual people until he went to college. After getting degrees in both Television Production…

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Nathan
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Nathan

Thank you for posting this. I’m not in the AVID group on FB but this is the best summary of information I’ve seen. Please keep updating! I can’t work right now.

Richard Purves
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Hi All, I’m an Apple system admin by trade, but also have my feet in the film world too. There’s been a lot of noise over this in the Mac Admin community. However I can share one crucial piece of information with you all. It’s not Avid. What it actually is, is a nasty combination of disabled SIP (system integrity protection) and Google Chrome’s automatic updater. In tech terms it’s replacing the /var symlink with a folder owned by the current user. The Apple community is calling this #varsectomy … A live blog update (not by me) is currently being… Read more »

Liam Le G
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Liam Le G

Does anyone know if this is only affecting MacPro’s? Are iMacs safe?
I’m running MC on iMac and currently too scared to put the machine online… :0

David Zimmerly
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David Zimmerly

iMacs are not safe, and neither are MacBook Pro’s. It has less to do with the hardware and more to do with whether the system has SIP disabled, or no SIP at all. We had one of each get trashed by this problem.

Richard Purves
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Ding ding ding! https://bugs.chromium.org/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=1007358
Please see comment no.5 from Chrome maintainers.

Richard Purves
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Putting on my Black Hat attacker “hat” right now and thinking like an overly paranoid security person. This is a pretty frightening situation. We’ve got a combination of 3rd party hardware not following Apple guidelines, IT staff intentionally disabling OS security in order to make that hardware work and a different vendor’s bug causing major calamity. Doesn’t that strike anyone as bad? Every APT group out there now realises that post production houses are now rather more easily compromised than is usual for macOS. This whole thing should really serve as a giant wake up call to certain end users… Read more »

David Zimmerly
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David Zimmerly

I agree 100%! I’m surprised no one has yet mentioned ATTO, one of the guiltiest parties in this whole thing. It is their badly-written drivers that force end users to disable SIP and thereby leave their systems wide open to cruddy code like this Google updater. I’m sure ATTO would like to claim that Apple is the real culprit for implementing SIP in the first place, but we all know that finger-pointing just ends-up with a bunch of us losing 24-48 hrs. fixing problems that these vendors COLLECTIVELY created, however inadvertently. EVERYONE needs to take code inspection, testing and verification… Read more »