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Locking yourself out horror stories

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Production servers usually have remote control device like DRAC or ILO so there are two network connection for the server.

This is very common problem, especially  if you access the remote server infrequently.  Often the time you need to access the server the password is already forgotten and the simplistic rule that you should not write down passwords blow up in your face. Generally, if regular passwords are used in the organization it is important to wear electronic watches with memo pad  (such as Timex Men's Ironman Data Link USB Watch   or  Casio Databank  watches ) that is capable of storing passwords. Cell phone also can be used unless you often forget it at home (I do). Sudo can (and should) be configured to provide opportunity for a wheel group to get to root.

Hosing Your Root Account

This was/is a common mistake on Solaris where the shell used for root is generally unusable for serious sysadmn work. Everybody and his brother are changing is either to bash to ksh. But errors in doing so lead to unintended consequences after the reboot :-).

Typically you get error messages like these:

    login: root
    Password:
    Login incorrect

This is why using sudo is important. If  wheel group is defined as equivalent to root and you are in this group you can fix the errors without typical tricks used for recovering root password or restoring access to root account.

Here is one recollection of this situation  (From: jdell@maggie.mit.edu (John Ellithorpe),  Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Here's a pretty bad story.  I wanted to have root use tcsh instead of the Bourne shell.  So I decided to copy tcsh to /usr/local/bin.  I created the file, /etc/shells, and put in /usr/local/bin/tcsh, along with /bin/sh and /bin/csh.

All seems fine, so I used the chsh command and changed root's shell to /usr/local/bin/tcsh.  So I logged out and tried to log back in.  Only to find out that I couldn't get back in.  Every time I tried to log in, I only got the statement: /usr/local/bin/tcsh: permission denied!

I instantly realized what I had done.  I forgot to check that tcsh has execute privileges and I couldn't get in as root!

After about 30 minutes of getting mad at myself, I finally figured out to just bring the system down to single-user mode, which ONLY uses the /bin/sh, thankfully, and edited the password file back to /bin/sh.

I'll never do that again.  This wasn't that much of a horror story, but good enough if you aren't that familiar with the system.

 



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Society

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Quotes

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Bulletin:

Vol 25, No.12 (December, 2013) Rational Fools vs. Efficient Crooks The efficient markets hypothesis : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2013 : Unemployment Bulletin, 2010 :  Vol 23, No.10 (October, 2011) An observation about corporate security departments : Slightly Skeptical Euromaydan Chronicles, June 2014 : Greenspan legacy bulletin, 2008 : Vol 25, No.10 (October, 2013) Cryptolocker Trojan (Win32/Crilock.A) : Vol 25, No.08 (August, 2013) Cloud providers as intelligence collection hubs : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2010 : Inequality Bulletin, 2009 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2008 : Copyleft Problems Bulletin, 2004 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011 : Energy Bulletin, 2010 : Malware Protection Bulletin, 2010 : Vol 26, No.1 (January, 2013) Object-Oriented Cult : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2011 : Vol 23, No.11 (November, 2011) Softpanorama classification of sysadmin horror stories : Vol 25, No.05 (May, 2013) Corporate bullshit as a communication method  : Vol 25, No.06 (June, 2013) A Note on the Relationship of Brooks Law and Conway Law

History:

Fifty glorious years (1950-2000): the triumph of the US computer engineering : Donald Knuth : TAoCP and its Influence of Computer Science : Richard Stallman : Linus Torvalds  : Larry Wall  : John K. Ousterhout : CTSS : Multix OS Unix History : Unix shell history : VI editor : History of pipes concept : Solaris : MS DOSProgramming Languages History : PL/1 : Simula 67 : C : History of GCC developmentScripting Languages : Perl history   : OS History : Mail : DNS : SSH : CPU Instruction Sets : SPARC systems 1987-2006 : Norton Commander : Norton Utilities : Norton Ghost : Frontpage history : Malware Defense History : GNU Screen : OSS early history

Classic books:

The Peter Principle : Parkinson Law : 1984 : The Mythical Man-MonthHow to Solve It by George Polya : The Art of Computer Programming : The Elements of Programming Style : The Unix Haterís Handbook : The Jargon file : The True Believer : Programming Pearls : The Good Soldier Svejk : The Power Elite

Most popular humor pages:

Manifest of the Softpanorama IT Slacker Society : Ten Commandments of the IT Slackers Society : Computer Humor Collection : BSD Logo Story : The Cuckoo's Egg : IT Slang : C++ Humor : ARE YOU A BBS ADDICT? : The Perl Purity Test : Object oriented programmers of all nations : Financial Humor : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2008 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2010 : The Most Comprehensive Collection of Editor-related Humor : Programming Language Humor : Goldman Sachs related humor : Greenspan humor : C Humor : Scripting Humor : Real Programmers Humor : Web Humor : GPL-related Humor : OFM Humor : Politically Incorrect Humor : IDS Humor : "Linux Sucks" Humor : Russian Musical Humor : Best Russian Programmer Humor : Microsoft plans to buy Catholic Church : Richard Stallman Related Humor : Admin Humor : Perl-related Humor : Linus Torvalds Related humor : PseudoScience Related Humor : Networking Humor : Shell Humor : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2012 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2013 : Java Humor : Software Engineering Humor : Sun Solaris Related Humor : Education Humor : IBM Humor : Assembler-related Humor : VIM Humor : Computer Viruses Humor : Bright tomorrow is rescheduled to a day after tomorrow : Classic Computer Humor

The Last but not Least


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