Hollywood Mac Pro Workstations Hit by Mysterious Software Issue [Updated]

Update: In a statement, AVID has indicated that the root cause for the reboot issue is unrelated to its creative tools. Google has since confirmed that a Chrome update "may have shipped with a bug that damages the file system on macOS machines" and has provided instructions for affected users.

Original story follows.



Variety reports this morning of a possible computer virus attack or critical software failure affecting Mac Pro workstations across Los Angeles.

According to social media chatter, Hollywood Film and TV editors discovered late on Monday that "trashcan" Mac Pros running older versions of macOS and AVID's Media Composer software were refusing to reboot after shutting down.

The root cause of the issue remains unknown, but online speculation is surfacing a few possibilities, including a virus specifically targeting post-production Macs in the Hollywood area.

Others have suggested an issue with AVID's iLok activation dongle, or perhaps a conflict with the software and a recent system update – possibly related to Apple's Safari browser – that is corrupting data.

Affected users are being advised to try booting in single-user mode and disabling Wi-Fi so that they can back up, while non-affected AVID users have been told not to shut down their Macs so they can also deactivate Wi-Fi and any other networks until a solution is found.


Several companies are said to have been affected by the issue. Neither AVID nor Apple have responded to requests for comment. This is a developing story that will be updated as soon as we learn more.

Related Roundup: Mac Pro
Tag: Avid
Buyer's Guide: Mac Pro (Buy Now)

Top Rated Comments

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11 weeks ago
If they aren't running the latest software like it says in the article, I don't really see how this is Apple's fault...
Rating: 11 Votes
Avatar
11 weeks ago


If you’re working with avid products it’s quite normal not to have the latest macOS. It took avid more then six month until ProTools officially supported Mojave.


And not just Avid. Our support company always kept us a version or two behind in MacOS to keep our systems stable. The only time I'm running the current version is when I buy a new machine.
Rating: 10 Votes
Avatar
11 weeks ago


If they aren't running the latest software like it says in the article, I don't really see how this is Apple's fault...

If you’re working with avid products it’s quite normal not to have the latest macOS. It took avid more then six month until ProTools officially supported Mojave.
Rating: 9 Votes
Avatar
11 weeks ago
Google has identified the source of this problem being an issue with the Chrome autoupdater (called Keystone.) It actually had nothing at all to do with Avid. There was a new version of Keystone which deleted the /var symbolic link, which only worked on systems which did not have SIP enabled.
[URL unfurl="true"]https://bugs.chromium.org/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=1007358#c5[/URL]
Rating: 8 Votes
Avatar
11 weeks ago


If they aren't running the latest software like it says in the article, I don't really see how this is Apple's fault...


Never worked with Avid products I see. They’re notorious for not supporting the latest OS. Plus they’re ubiquitous in the industry so you don’t have much choice but hold off on updating.
Rating: 8 Votes
Avatar
11 weeks ago


That makes sense, but if it is a software bug that only affects machines running an older version of macOS, it would mean they are running an unsupported macOS version. Therefore, it's only the users' fault, in my opinion, if AVID did update their software (even if it was after a while) and so did Apple.


Possibly, though there’s also the mentality of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Frequently they won’t update the OS because it isn’t just a case of waiting for one piece of software to be supported. There’s a whole host of external hardware in these studios that can be screwed up with driver support.

The Snow Leopard>Lion was notorious for this. Whilst 10.7 was utter rubbish, a lot of people got burned and are much more cautious when updating to a whole new OS as a result. Normally they’d wait for the .1 or .2 update before jumping ship so that the groundbreaking niggles will be fixed.

Remember these aren’t consumers. Any downtime from an update that goes wrong or messes up some weird combination of software & hardware (which can happen) is too expensive to risk.

Regardless we don’t yet know the cause of the problem. Could be an Apple issue for all we know.
Rating: 7 Votes
Avatar
11 weeks ago


Lemme get this straight.
You’re moaning about the measures taken to stop software piracy and then in the same breath you tell us all that you’re happy to steal it. ???


No, I said I ran plugins I owned with iLok removed. They ran better, the system had less problems. Pace install a lot of junk on your system, much of which goes against Apple's guidelines.
Rating: 5 Votes
Avatar
11 weeks ago
Moral of the story: don’t use Avid. It’s antiquated anyway. You got no business using it unless you’re an old dog refusing to learn new tricks.
Rating: 4 Votes
Avatar
11 weeks ago


If they aren't running the latest software like it says in the article, I don't really see how this is Apple's fault...

You’d be shocked. I had to install Avid all the time when setting up new hires at ESPN. The version they were using (I think it was 8.4) was so old it’s UI didn’t even support retina displays (this was just over two years ago).

The version had a ridiculous flaw where I constantly had to remind people that if you didn’t turn of wifi to LAUNCH the program it would never get passed the loading screen. You would then turn WiFi back on and everything worked normally.

This was ESPN, with DISNEY money, and they were still using a 4+ year old version of Avid. I ALWAYS asked when we were updating and was always told it was “in testing”. The version that was being tested was a .1 upgrade, basically a bug patch, and that was 3 or so years in review.

Edit: Thinking back on it, the version number may have been as old as 6.5 on machines. Definitely not all of them (I think 8.4 was installed on new machines) but enough of them to make me think that running updates on the Macs just was even a consideration for the organization.
Rating: 4 Votes
Avatar
11 weeks ago


AVID's iLok activation dongle


This doesn't surprised me. I hate iLok. Yet another thing that supposed to stop software priacy but ends up costing the end user. The iLok software digs deep into macOS and installs crap all over the place and causes loads of problems.

I remember back in about 2009 when iLok 1 was cracked and all the audio plugs were released. I actually uninstall iLok and removed the dongle and ran the cracked versions of the plugins on my system instead - they opened (considerably) faster and ran more smoothly and I didn't need any of the iLok stuff running in the background.
Rating: 4 Votes
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