Carbon Copy Cloner's Privileged Helper Tool

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An important part of the security architecture of macOS is the concept of privilege separation. Privileges are doled out not only on a per-user basis, but also on a per-process basis. When an application wants to perform a task that requires additional privileges, it must request those privileges.  Beyond that, Apple recommends that separate processes be used for these tasks that require elevated privileges

Carbon Copy Cloner leverages a privileged helper tool to perform privileged tasks, such as copying system files. When you first attempt to save or run a backup task, CCC will prompt you to install this privileged helper tool. Installation of the helper tool is not option, it is required for the management of all task activity, whether scheduled or ad hoc.

System problems can lead to a failure to install CCC's helper tool

Configuration files for privileged helper tools are placed in the /Library/LaunchDaemons folder on your startup disk. CCC never touches this folder directly, rather it uses the macOS "Service Management" service to install and load its helper tool configuration. If the permissions or ownership of this folder are incorrect, however, the Service Management daemon (smd) will fail to install the helper tool configuration, and this service offers no recourse, nor even a notification that something is wrong that should be corrected.

Solution

The solution to this problem is to remove the affected system folder and recreate it with the correct ownership and permissions. To avoid exposing yourself to potential security vulnerabilities, it is imperative that you remove this folder and its contents rather than simply correcting the ownership and permissions.

  1. Quit CCC if it is open
  2. Choose Computer from the Finder's Go menu
  3. Navigate to your startup disk > Library
  4. Drag the LaunchDaemons folder to the Trash, authenticating when prompted
  5. Open the Terminal application (/Applications/Utilities/Terminal.app)
  6. Paste the following into the Terminal one line at a time, pressing the Return key at the end of each line. Type in your admin password when prompted.

    sudo mkdir -m 755 /Library/LaunchDaemons
    sudo chown root:wheel /Library/LaunchDaemons

  7. Open CCC and try again to save and run a backup task