Redhat – Securing Root Login

Posted: February 24, 2010 in Redhat

Disable Direct Root Login

Allowing the root user to login directly is a major security issue,
we'll show you how to disable it so you can still login as root but just not
directly, reducing the security issue.

This will force a hacker to have to guess 2 seperate passwords to gain root access.
(you do have 2 seperate passwords for admin and root right?)
What happens is you'll first need to login as your admin user in SSH,
then switch to the super user with the su command to get root.

We also will be forcing the use of SSH protocol 2, which is a newer, more secure
SSH protocol
Just a couple more ways to help your server stay safe from the bad guys. If you're
using cPanel make sure you add your admin user to the 'wheel' group so that you will
be able to 'su -' to root, otherwise you may lock yourself out of root.

1. SSH into your server as 'admin' and gain root access by su

2. Copy and paste this line to edit the file for SSH logins
pico -w /etc/ssh/sshd_config

3. Find the line
Protocol 2, 1

4. Uncomment it and change it to look like
Protocol 2

5. Next, find the line
PermitRootLogin yes

6. Uncomment it and make it look like PermitRootLogin no

7. Save the file Ctrl+X then Y then enter

8. Now you can restart SSH
/etc/rc.d/init.d/sshd restart

Now, no one will be able to login to root with out first loggin in as admin and
'su -' to root, and you will be forcing the use of a more secure protocol. Just
make sure you remember both passwords!
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