A single typo locked Chromebook users out of their laptops

The issue has been fixed, but not before it trashed some users' systems.

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Jon Fingas
July 21st, 2021
Google Pixelbook Go
Nathan Ingraham/Engadget

Google is apparently learning a hard lesson about the importance of accurate writing. Android Police reports that Google has pulled a briefly available Chrome OS update that broke logins for Chromebook users, apparently due to a simple typo. The company appears to have added a second "&" to a line of code, preventing the OS from decrypting login info and effectively locking updated users out of their systems.

The issue not only prevented some users from signing in, but started bootloops (where the system keeps restarting). At least one system required a recovery USB stick to return to a working state. While Chrome OS thrives on cloud syncing, some people still lost important files.

Google has pinpointed the problem and should deliver a fixed update today (July 21st). Still, it's not clear how such a conspicuous flaw slipped through the testing process. If nothing else, it's a reminder about the importance of backups — it only takes one buggy update to create chaos, whether you're using a Chromebook or any other device.

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