Observed with today's debian-testing-amd64-businesscard.iso. (Testing with a sid installer) The debian installer allows the user to enter a password for GRUB to access advanced features. If the user does so, the password is included in cleartext in /boot/grub/menu.lst GRUB has the capability to use an md5 hash of a password instead of storing the password. These are generated with the grub command md5crypt. For example, to generate a md5 hash of the password "foobar" (no quotes): echo -e "md5crypt\nfoobar" | sudo grub --batch | grep "Encrypted" | sed -e 's/Encrypted: //g' There may be a cleaner way to do this but the above will work. Then, in /boot/grub/menu.lst, where you would write: password foobar instead write (the output from the above command) password --md5 $1$SZmo8$vxbhcjqNC4kHpqZi5n3r81 It is important not to store the password in cleartext for several reasons. Some users (such as myself) may use a password either similar to or identical to the root or user password on the machine for the bootloader. I boot to an encrypted root, but of course /boot is on an unencrypted volume so the password could be snooped. I understand the rationale that on a normal system, if you have read access to menu.conf then you have write access (eg, by rooting the system) and could just clear the password anyway, but given that GRUB provides such a simple way to use a hash instead I think Debian should implement this. As always, thanks for the wonderful, free operating system. Many of us appreciate your effort (including our entire cluster:-), and my two personal machines) Alex Roper UGCS Sysadmin California Institute of Technology
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