Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 28th Feb 2012 23:11 UTC
Linux Linus Torvalds on requiring the root password for mundane tasks. "So here's a plea: if you have anything to do with security in a distro, and think that my kids (replace 'my kids' with 'sales people on the road' if you think your main customers are businesses) need to have the root password to access some wireless network, or to be able to print out a paper, or to change the date-and-time settings, please just kill yourself now. The world will be a better place." Yes, it's harsh (deal with it, Finns don't beat around the bush), but he's completely and utterly right. While there's cases where it makes sense to disable certain settings (public terminals, for instance), it is utterly idiotic that regular home users have to type in their root password for such mundane tasks.
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RE: The opposite is also true...
by Soulbender on Wed 29th Feb 2012 05:07 UTC in reply to "The opposite is also true..."
Soulbender
Member since:
2005-08-18

This is something Ubuntu does via its sudo system and it's 100% wrong - -asks that can significantly change your system installation should require a privileged username/password and not a normal user's!


Your understanding of sudo is 100% wrong. What security do you think having to use the root password rather than your own gives? Hint: none. They're both passwords that you have to give and neither has an inherent security advantage over the other.
This is exactly how sudo is designed to work and it means that you can delegate privileges better than if you use a single root password.

it only accepts your own (unprivileged - or at least it should be) password!


There's no such thing as an unprivileged password. There are accounts with more or less privileges.

The very first thing I do on such a broken Ubuntu system is "sudo passwd root", so that I can su to root and do my privileged stuff that way


Never work as root, use sudo or if you really think you need to continue this bad practice: sudo su -

Genius that, because Ubuntu sets a random root password and never tells you it, ho hum.


root on Ubuntu has an empty password, not a random one, and that is why you can't log in with it. Accounts with empty passwords can by default not have interactive sessions.
And no, Ubuntu does not prompt you for the root password when fsck has to be run at boot.

Edited 2012-02-29 05:19 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 13

laffer1 Member since:
2007-11-09

This is wrong. sudo is great for desktops. However, for servers, you should never use sudo. Why? Most servers have servers such as openssh and mail running. That means someone can brute force your password remotely. If you have a root password set, then even if they get into your account, they must take the time to brute force root. Hopefully this extra time will make it possible for someone to notice the attack.

Full sudo rights on a server == full root for everyone on the internet courtesy of botnets.

Reply Parent Score: 3

Nico57 Member since:
2006-12-18

Then just don't run services under a sudoer's account...

Reply Parent Score: 1

bert64 Member since:
2007-04-23

Which is why authentication via SSH keys is a good idea...
Now brute force attempts will be ineffective, and you also have two factors required in order to gain elevated privileges so even if someone steals your privatekey they still need to do extra work (and thus increase the risk of detection) in order to get root.

Reply Parent Score: 3

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

However, for servers, you should never use sudo.


No, it's great for servers and should always be used since it enables better permission control and audit trails.

Most servers have servers such as openssh and mail running.


That's why you don't use password authentication with ssh. If you need people to use sftp with passwords you always use chroot and force the accounts to be sftponly.
Most servers do not have mail running and for those that do the email username and password are more often than not different from the system users and passwords.

Hopefully this extra time will make it possible for someone to notice the attack.


If they didn't already catch the brute force on the account I doubt they'll catch the brute force on root.

Full sudo rights on a server == full root for everyone on the internet courtesy of botnets.


100% wrong.

Reply Parent Score: 4