Suppose I set my password to something very simple, like the letter 'a', such that anything with access to a login prompt effectively has root access. What attacks does this open me up to, as a desktop Linux user?
closed as too broad by jasonwryan, muru, thrig, Kiwy, roaima Mar 2 '18 at 8:48
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It's safe from remote attacks unless you spin up a service that utilizes password authentication. For instance, it would still be safe to allow SSH access to that account with the simple password if password authentication were disabled and keys were used instead.
In other words, it's not a problem if it's a home computer in a safe environment.
It will be very easy to detect (or not very easy since it's so non-intuitive) your password in a Brute Force Attack.
Then, assuming the intruder succeeded finding your password, it could destroy your system by a simple command like:
sudo rm -rf /*
This command will delete 99% of your system and will make totally unfunctional and also unrecoverable from itself, usually.
rargument means recursive (work with current inode and all derivatives).
fmeans force (ignore nonexistent inodes and don't prompt about them).
/*means "everything under the root directory in your inode system".
You might want to check
man rm for more data on the
rm deletion command.
Sidenote: Always make scheduled backups (manual or automatic).