[ubuntu-uk] Corrupted User Accounts?

Matthew Wild mwild1 at gmail.com
Mon Dec 20 15:26:00 GMT 2010

On 20 December 2010 15:17, Gordon Burgess-Parker <gbplinux at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 20/12/10 15:08, Simon Greenwood wrote:
> The issue with Windows is that there is a database at the core of the
> authentication mechanism, and this database can get damaged. Unix and Linux
> are essentially based on flat files which can be edited with the correct
> permissions. It is possible to damage /etc/passwd and/or /etc/shadow in such
> a way as to cause authentication failure, and also to corrupt your user
> space in such a way as to damage user configuration files, but it's also a
> lot easier to recover them.
> s/
> Ah. That makes things a bit clearer. Are there any "Howtos" as to how a
> (relative) newbie can recover from these sorts of damage?

If it was a common problem I'm sure there would be :)

To be honest the answer is just to make backups, and that's something
you should do regardless of the OS you use. Then just restore any
damaged files from backups.

I don't know about anyone else on this list, but I've never seen such
corruption as we're discussing. Sure it can happen in theory, e.g. I
could open the system file up in my text editor (if I have root
access) and write some gibberish there. Otherwise I'm not sure how it
would happen - poorly coded software running as root could do it, but
I've never encountered such software that would write to e.g.


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