Originally Posted by chrism01
The problem with no root user would be that a cracker only has to guess one passwd to get into the sudo acct, then up to root.
With a true root, you also need the root passwd (disable remote root) and any sudo is only for specific users, for SPECIFIC cmds, definitely not full root/any cmd.
There is no "up to root".
No single account has the privileges - each password only gets access to a small subset of the capabilities. Second, using a second password SHOULD cancel any privileges obtained from the first. Thus, a network admin can only configure and test the network interface - but no privileges to install software, no configuration access to apache, no configuration access DNS (unless it is also counted as part of the network), no privileges to VMs, no security privileges, no access for adding/removing users... Even if the same person does all the jobs, it requires knowledge of all the passwords.
Each role gets a different password.
The problem is that setting this up is difficult, and a generic configuration will not fit all organization structures. This is when politics of system administration meet the security models provided by vendors.
One place I worked had a network section that handled all network configurations... but they were not allowed to alter individual systems - that was up the system administrators. They did not even (at first) configure DNS for the same reason. Security administration and auditing were yet another group - and they could not add users... That was reserved for the user administrator, who could not add software - that was reserved for yet another group.
Unfortunately, the base UNIX administration role could not be separated that way (at least not at the time), so it ended up with each system having about 25 people with root for all systems. An external security audit broke that deadlock. At the time I left we were down to 5 people with root, but the class of systems was broken up such that no single system had more than 5.
The advantage was that finger pointing (or the "notme", "notme" situation) failures were reduced and the general security awareness raised.