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I'm running linux (specifically Debian 9) on my everyday-use laptop, where the disk with the system is encrypted, so whenever I boot it up, the password is required prior to entering the system. In this case, is it safe to setup getty to automatically log in a user with root privileges (sudoer, while sudo does not require password)? Is there any way a potential attacker might get into the system?

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Encryption means attacker can't access and modify your data (when the computer is not used ­– decrypted). If you log in, you must have physical access to computer to access data (attacker can read everything because sudo).

There is no way for attacker to get to the system if you lock it using some program like vlock.

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In principle, since data can only be read once the disk has been unlocked, regardless of whether the user is automatically logged in or not, auto-login will have next to no effect on security since the user has already been authenticated at boot.

This assumes that the computer is shutdown properly, the encryption password is not shared, the password is long enough, etc... Disk encryption best practices are taken.

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Is there any way a potential attacker might get into the system?

attacker with physical access to a computer is able to retrieve encryption keys from a running operating system after using a cold reboot to restart the machine

New Cold Boot Attack Unlocks Disk Encryption On Nearly All Modern PCs

  • If you are connected to the internet an encrypted system is still vulnerable to the network attack.

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