I am a very new systems administrator. I have been hired in as a junior and came from a Windows administration back ground. I have about one month of Linux experience. I have a lot of resources that I'm learning from but kind of wanted to jump ahead with this question in hopes that one of you beautiful people could lead me to the answer before we run out of time. And what I mean by that is there is a possible security breach going on at my company. Our old system administrator might be logging on to our servers from home and we can't get in contact with them. I have already begun to change the passwords but here is the specific question:

We use CentOS 5 and access our data center with Putty. Whenever the terminal opens it automatically prompts for the root password. We are thinking to create some sort of generic user account that me and the manager log in with and only use root when we need it/are prompted to do so. So if I create "testUser" or something of that nature how do I go about making sure the servers prompt for "testUser" by default instead of root?



The default to "root" is probably coming from your PuTTY configuration. Check the following option:

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Just edit /etc/gdm/custom.conf with your favorite editor. Then, under the [daemon] section, add 2 lines so it looks like the code below (obviously change username to the username you want to use):

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Personally, I'd advise against being able to login directly to the root account unless one is at the console. What I'd suggest you might explore is having an account on the server, and then using sudo to establish an privs that might be needed to do your work. This has the advantage of NOT disclosing the root password, and logging anytime anybody activates their sudo privs and for what command.

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  • I agree with you on that. :) – ryekayo Oct 8 '14 at 14:53

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