Renaming root account

Craig Edwards brain at
Thu Mar 3 08:53:47 GMT 2005

Hash: SHA1

Thanks Ed,

My system already has securelevel 2 set and immutable flags on most of
its core system files in /sbin and /bin, etc. Basically i am aware of
the fact that other systems (for example windows) let you change the
administrative user's username to enhance security that little bit more.
Security through obscurity on its own is not a good method of securing a
network but when combined with other systems, it can be an advantage.

Currently i also utilize samhain and make regular (nightly) backups to a
windows machine behind a second router (which is a security aspect many
people will overlook!). I run nightly virus scans from my /etc/periodic
and update the signatures automatically, as i have lost a redhat linux
machine before due to a cracker dropping the RST.b trojan/virus onto it,
and this would locate such a problem and allow me to reformat the
machine faster. The machine is being used as my internet gateway for my
small network and also as a collaberative centre for a group of users
who work on my programming projects. These users are trusted of course
but the more users you add to a system the more chance there is of it
being compromised as there is more to keep track of and more to audit,
so the more layers of security you can use, the better.

Thanks for your time,

Ed Stover wrote:
> This response is a bit off of what you asked but I will just toss this
> out there.
> 	I generally protect my machines from the root user but utilizing
> chflags and kernel secure levels. That way if an attacker were to gain
> root access they wouldn't be able to change files... On my firewalls I
> modify rc.conf to boot to secure level 2 ,then I lock
> down /bin /sbin /etc /usr/local/etc with chflags schg while still in
> secure level 0 then reboot. Upon the restart you have a very secure
> machine that is protected from root user. In secure level two, even root
> cannot change those files flagged immutable.  The only way to change
> those files would be to have physical access to the machine and modify
> rc.conf in single user mode and then reboot change the flags back from
> immutable and then modify the files. That is  a bit too secure to be
> user friendly. I am just a getRdun type of person, you could lock down
> certain files and leave the five passwd files alone so users could
> change their passwords but generally attackers try to add themselves an
> account right away. What application would you be using the server for?
> Most H4X0RZ attacks I have seen where they have gained shell access are
> stumped when it comes to file flags and kernel secure levels. 
> On Thu, 2005-03-03 at 08:03 +0000, Craig Edwards wrote:
> Hi everyone,
> One quick question: Is it safe and/or sensible to rename the root
> account, so that the only uid 0 user on a system is something different
> to root? I can see how this would be effective against external
> attackers who have no knowledge of the internals of the system as they
> would spend pointless hours trying to crack a user which doesnt exist,
> however to internal users they could always just cat /etc/passwd and see
> that root has been renamed. So firstly, is this possible, and security
> wise is it of any real use? Can anyone think of any apps it would break
> that assume that the uid 0 user is called root and don't just address
> the user by its uid?
> Thanks,
> Craig Edwards
freebsd-security at mailing list
To unsubscribe, send any mail to "freebsd-security-unsubscribe at"

- --
WinBot IRC client developer:
ChatSpike - The users network:
InspIRCd - Modular IRC server:
Online RPG Developer:
- --
Version: GnuPG v1.2.5 (MingW32)


More information about the freebsd-security mailing list