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Re: itp: static bins / resolving static debian issues



* Steve Willer said:

> > > set the priority of sash to standard or important. On install, ask if
> > > you want to make this the default root shell. Default to "yes". Say
> >
> > No. It should be installed as a part of the standard installation process
> > and used as the alternative sashroot account shell.
> 
> As long as it asks. If sash asks the question at installation, then a
> sysadmin who hasn't heard of sash before is now hearing about it. If you
> silently add a new user, the sysadmin might not notice about the new
> account or the existence of sash, and surprises are generally bad.
Agreed. sash installation should be as informative as possible. One should
be asked whether to:

1. create an alternative root account (defaults to Y)
2. set the alternative account's shell to sash (defaults to Y)
3. if user answers N to 1), then sash should suggest itself as the shell
   for the root account (defaults to N).
 
> You might even consider also asking "What should the sash user be called?"
> if the user says [Y] to the first question, to give maximum flexibility to
> the user. If I was installing a machine that sits on the Internet for
> example, I would probably want to use a non-default username for this
> non-root user just because it's one less piece of information that a black
> hat can infer.
No. It shouldn't ask for the new name. It would be really bad for several
reasons:

1. all the (possible) scripts in standard Debian that rely on the existence
   of such account would be confused and rendered virtually useless - they
   wouldn't know what is the new account called. They could ask, but that's
   at least a bit uncomfortable and not very elegant, not to mention it's
   error prone and disables the possibility of unattended script runs.
2. In case of a user asking for help, how would you tell him to use the
   alternative UID 0 account? He might've even forgotten what he called the
   account...

Besides, why having a well-known privileged account would make the machine
more vulnerable? root account is well know, is privileged - and for those
reasons it is protected with special care. That same protection can be
applied to the new account, AFAICS with no additional effort on the admin
part - the protection system applied to the root account is based on the
UID, not the name. And both accounts have UID 0. Also... did you hear about
the Linux PPC challenge? They published the root account on the
crack.linuxppc.org machine - and nobody has broken in yet...

marek


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