Are there any security implications for creating (or not creating) a new user?
If need be, how do I create a new user or change the default user?
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The official Debian image ships with at least 2 users,
pi. You will only be able to login to the
At the very least, you should change the password for the
pi account, as anybody with a RPi will be able to log onto yours. To do this, run
passwd from the command line and follow the prompts.
If, like me, you want to use your own name, you want to use
usermod like this:
usermod -l newname -d newname -m oldname
There are more options for
usermod, which can be found by running
root does not have a password and is inactive - you cannot login to it or
root. You should not change this, as it is a security risk and
sudo is more secure.
Don't be too relaxed with your RPi's security though, the filesystem is not encrypted, by default, and therefore, anyone with physical access can just remove the SD card and read it using another machine.
A fresh Arch install ships with only the root user available. Thus you should definitely be creating a new user, as spending too much time as root is dangerous. In addition, you should also change the root password, as leaving as default is a major security risk.
The password can be changed when logged in as root by running the
# passwd Changing password for root. (current) UNIX password: Enter new UNIX password: Retype new UNIX password:
A new user can be created with the
adduser is probably easiest, the only required field is the name (you can skip the others by pressing enter):
# adduser Login name for new user :
You will be prompted for a new password for the account when it is created.
If you prefer, you can use
sudo, in a similar way to Debian users.
To install sudo, run
pacman -S sudo
To allow a user to use
sudo they need to be added to the sudoers file. This can be done in two ways.
Add the user to the
wheel group using
usermod and uncomment this line in the sudoers file:
%wheel ALL=(ALL) ALL
or add the user directly to the sudoers file:
username ALL=(ALL) ALL
NOTE You should never edit the sudoers file with Vim, Emacs, etc. You should always edit it via
visudo. This prevents you from messing up the syntax and rendering
sudounusable for you.
If you want to you can effectively disable the root account by running this command as root:
# passwd --lock
This option disables a password by changing it to a value which matches no possible encrypted value.
This shouldn't really be necessary if you have a strong root password and have root access through SSH disabled.
usermod command won't run if there are any processes of the to-be-changed user running on the machine when the command is run.
If your on console of the pi there is a way to get around this without having to make another user (or set a pw on root):
Assuming nothing else is running with your username other then the shell on the console - no X session, no ssh login, etc:
exec sudo -s cd / usermod -l newname -d /home/newname -m oldname
sudothat instead of just running on command as another user that it should run new shell as the given user
exectells the shell that instead of spawning off a new process when it runs a command (hence leaving the shell process running as the login user) that the shell should overwrite itself with the new process - this means that when
execed command ends the shell is gone - in the case of a login shell that equates to disconnecting from the login
cd /is optional. At minimum, things get a bit confusing if you move a dir your in (your login starts out sitting in the user
pihome dir) but sometimes will cause a fail, better safe then sorry.
exec sudo -s your overwriting your shell with a new shell that has been created as a different user.
P.S. be sure to give
usermod -d a full path or you'll end up moving the account's home to somewhere you don't expect (and have a bogus directory entry in
To add a new user in raspbian:
sudo useradd -m -G pi,sudo,gpio,audio,video steve
sudo passwd steve
-m - Create a new home directory
-G group1,group2,group3 - Add the user to these groups, don't add
sudo if you don't want the user to have sudo privileges.
steve - Name of new user
passwd - Linux requires a password to login, so set password.
I have been reading a bunch of how tos on this, but the easiest is also the simplest
Login as pi,
To add new user:
sudo adduser john
After successful creation, add
sudo usermod john -g sudo
Update package lists:
sudo apt-get update
If it works, you're done...