What just happened? Major bugs caused by updates aren’t unheard of, but this one from Google affected some high-profile names in the TV and movie industry, including the entire editing team on Modern Family.
As reported by Variety, a data corruption error that caused Mac Pro workstations to become unusable started affecting Hollywood studios on Monday. Video editors found that their machines were refusing to reboot, and while it was initially suspected that Avid’s Media Composer software was the problem, seeing as it was present on all the Macs, Google later confirmed the error was the result of a Chrome update.
“We recently discovered that a Chrome update may have shipped with a bug that damages the file system on macOS machines,” wrote a Google support employee. "We’ve paused the release while we finalize a new update that addresses the problem.”
It turns out the cause of the problem was a recent release of Google’s Keystone software (version 188.8.131.52), which is included in Chrome to download browser updates automatically.
The Keystone bug damaged the file systems on macs that had their System Integrity Protection (SIP) disabled. SIP is designed to prevent malicious software from modifying and corrupting core system files.
Anyone who had disabled SIP or was running a Mac with OS X 10.10 Yosemite or earlier, which don’t support the feature, could have been affected.
Most users won’t have a reason to disable SIP, but it’s thought many video editors do so to work with the external audio and video devices used in professional editing.
Google has published instructions on how to fix an affected machine, which involves booting into recovery mode and using the Terminal application.