You Do WHAT as root?

Over at Email Battles, there are reports of many clueless Linux administrators using the root account as their personal login. They printed an “interview” with one of them, and it just makes me want to bang my head into the wall. I’m just glad that such a person doesn’t work for either my company or my client. Some choice quotes:

EB: Have you ever tried sudo?
Kurt: I don’t do it. It’s too much of a hassle to be switching privileges back and forth. (emphasis mine) I just pay attention to the commands I’m entering, and pray for the best. So far so good, knock on wood.

What, like that extra five keystrokes per command is going to kill you?

EB: Have you ever forgotten to change permissions back after an install?
Kurt: If I did, I don’t remember. I’d never do anything like that intentionally.

I’m as secure as I can figure out how to be, while still taking care of my real job responsibilities on any given day.

As far as I know, my network’s not “owned” by anyone. Until I find out, I’m not going to do anything about it.

Of course, “Kurt”‘s level of security awareness leads me to believe that he’ll never find out when he gets “owned.”

EB: What kind of administrative training have you gone through?
Kurt: Bootstrapping. I am self-taught. I own almost the whole O’Reilly library. I spend a lot of time digging through message boards when a problem does come up.

If you own the whole O’Reilly library, go grab Essential System Administration and read it, cover to cover. Please stop giving the self-taught a bad rap.


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