After plugging in "root" as our username and no password, it took two clicks to gain access to Users & Groups settings on a High Sierra system.
Despite suggestions that the flaw can be mitigated by disabling the computer's guest account, this will not work - it simply restarts the computer with Safari the only application running. Many other macOS users independently confirmed the issue.
The issue was made public by software developer Lemi Orhan Ergin, who demonstrated the flaw and reported it to Apple's tech support account. If you do that, High Sierra promptly sets up a new account called System Administrator and a home folder located in /private/var/root. We've reached out to Apple for comment and will update it we hear back.
To do so, open the System Preferences and click on the "Users & Groups" option.
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This gives root access to the computer - meaning a person could operate the device as if they were an administrator and could download malicious software or otherwise compromise the computer. Click "Login Options", then click "Join", which appears next to the text "Network Account Server". (The company maintains an invite-only bug bounty program.) Despite its incredibly alarming simplicity, The Verge is not reproducing the steps to bypass High Sierra's login screen here.
Click the lock button, then enter your username and password when prompted.
Currently, there is no official fix from Apple regarding the issue. Then select "Change Root Password..." and choose a strong password, something with many letters and characters that can't be guessed. This will prompt for a password for the Root user account.
Click the lock icon in Directory Utility's window and authenticate. It's simple enough. Open up a Terminal (in the Spotlight search box just type "terminal") and type "sudo passwd root".