# # Backdoor accounts
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2005/02/14 Backdoor

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© February 2005 Tony Lawrence
February 2005

A backdoor account is an account that has root privileges. If installed by a hacker, that's obviously a bad thing. Such an account isn't necessarily going to be obvious:


but sometimes sysadmins install their own backdoor for less nefarious purposes; to protect against an accidental root password change or to make certain tasks easier.

If done for the latter reason, this is definitely a bad idea. Such problems should be solved with sudo or setuid programs.

I'm of mixed mind on having this for protective purposes. Yes, root passwords can be accidentally changed, and that can be a major annoyance to fix (/Linux/lostlinuxpassword.html, /Unixart/lost_root_password.html). But if the backdoor account has an "easy" password, you've just decreased security. If this is going to be done, I'd suggest making a difficult password, sealing it in an envelope, and planning never to use this account unless loss of root made it necessary.

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Tue Feb 15 02:49:29 2005: 26   bruceg




Does anyone remember the movie WarGames? That was the first thing to enter my mind when I read this title. Still a great movie to this day. I think it was the first DVD I purchased. I usally will watch it once a year, and recommend that everyone see it at least once. Even my family members who are not very computer literate appreciate the concept of there being no winner in a global nuclear war. Let's hope some of our elected officials, and foriegn officials watch it.


(link)

--BruceGarlock

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