[ubuntu-uk] Corrupted User Accounts?

Simon Greenwood sfgreenwood at gmail.com
Mon Dec 20 15:29:13 GMT 2010

On 20 December 2010 15:26, Matthew Wild <mwild1 at gmail.com> wrote:

> 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.
> /etc/passwd.
Right enough, but it's not impossible, just highly unlikely...


Twitter: @sfgreenwood
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