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12 November 2010, 12:06

PGP warns of Mac OS X 10.6.5 update

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Apple Mac OS X Data encryption specialist PGP Corporation, which is now part of Symantec, has warned Apple Mac users of updating to Mac OS X version 10.6.5. Apparently, systems with PGP Whole Disk Encryption (WDE) no longer boot once the update has been installed. Yesterday, users had already complained about problems and begun to exchange tips for potential workarounds.

The problem exists because the Apple update installs, or overwrites the existing boot loader with, an incompatible boot.efi boot loader. As a result, the encrypted partition becomes inaccessible.

PGP recommends that users decrypt their systems before installing the update, then install the update, and then re-encrypt their systems. For users who have already installed the update without precautionary measures, PGP has released instructions on how to repair their systems. Affected users need to download a recovery CD image, burn a recovery CD and then boot their systems with it. This does of course require access to another working system to create the CD. To prepare for such problems in the future, it's worthwhile reading the vendor's "PGP Whole Disk Encryption: Recovering Data (Mac OS X)PDF" Technical Note.

Why the problem wasn't discovered earlier remains unclear. Apple partners usually receive Mac OS X updates for testing several weeks in advance. Forum contributors are speculating on whether PGP didn't report the problem in time, or whether Apple changed the update at short notice.


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