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.
Thread beginning with comment 509088
To view parent comment, click here.
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
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

laffer1 Member since:
2007-11-09

Most people setup sudo to gain full access, not to run select programs. Of course it's capable of that, but it's rarely used in the wild. Most linux distros ship with it enabled like a root account.

I've seen people enable sshd on root accounts without using a key. Then they got owned. Everyday I see brute force attempts against root on my server. It's ignorant because BSD defaults to root disabled. They also had sudo turned on.

Like any tool, sudo can be used correctly but unfortunately people don't use it this way. Just because you setup your server competently doesn't mean it's common.

As for mail servers, I wasn't talking enterprise here. No LDAP. I'm thinking web hosting, virtual private servers and small shops. Anyone using sendmail + an imap server is probably using system accounts. That's default. Some of those accounts probably have shell access, especially in a hosting scenario. You don't have to agree with me, but I've seen it. I used to work for hosting companies.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

I've seen people enable sshd on root accounts without using a key


This is not a sudo problem and does not mean sudo is not suitable for servers. It's an admin competence issue.

Like any tool, sudo can be used correctly but unfortunately people don't use it this way. Just because you setup your server competently doesn't mean it's common.


So what? Again, this is not a problem with sudo but with incompetent/inexperienced admins. Using root password instead of sudo doesn't save you from this.

No LDAP. I'm thinking web hosting, virtual private servers and small shops


Most of those systems usually run something like sogo or iredmail and most of those mail systems does not use system accounts. I still say most mail servers does not use system accounts for mail access.

I used to work for hosting companies.

So did I.

Reply Parent Score: 4