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Old 07-26-2005, 03:34 AM   #1
Registered: Feb 2004
Posts: 30

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Unable to login as root - system freezes


I am attempting to login as root (using su - I'm pretty sure I blocked direct login as root). But when I enter my password, the system seems to "hang". Nothing happens. I can CTRL-c to exit su. But I can't login as root.

And this concerns me. Greatly.

I am very worried this is some kind of security issue.

Can anyone help?

Thank you,


(ps - my system is Debian Stable, old version. I've tried logging in as root over the virtual serial line - this is a virtual machine - but the same issue arises.)
Old 07-26-2005, 04:30 AM   #2
Simon Bridge
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Can you su into another user?

When you try to do something requiring root access from the gui - you get a dialog asking for the root password... does this hang as well?

Normally I would suggest booting from a CD in rescue mode and looking at the root user's configuration. I'm not sure what the virtual machine equivalent is. But I suspect you broke the root user sometime early.
Old 07-26-2005, 04:44 AM   #3
Registered: Feb 2004
Location: Kathmandu
Distribution: Redhat/fedora/Suse [Wanna Drive With Debian]
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# chage -l root

what is the output
Old 07-26-2005, 05:00 AM   #4
Registered: Feb 2004
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OK - solved for now

Hi all,

Thanks for your help. I tried the nuclear option and "halted" the machine from the admin shell. When the reboot finished I was able to su from my default user.

To secure the box a little I have now prevented any user other than my own from ssh-ing in, and changed the default shells to /bin/false for all except by user.

Hopefully - if this is a security issue - this will solve it. I will look through the logs later and see if there was an attempt on my box.


Old 07-26-2005, 06:17 PM   #5
Registered: Oct 2004
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Did it work before?

If not, perhaps you need to add your user to the wheel group so he can su.

If yes, can you log as normal root?


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