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Why Should We Disable Root-login over SSH on Linux
Root-login over SSH is a common method for gaining access to a Linux server, but it is not always the most secure option. In this article, we will explore the reasons why disabling root-login over SSH is a good idea, and provide examples of how to do so.
What is Root-Login Over SSH?
When a Linux server is set up, the root user is created by default. The root user is the most powerful user on the system, and has the ability to perform any task, including making changes to the system configuration, installing software, and creating new users.
When a user connects to a Linux server via SSH (Secure Shell), they are prompted to enter their username and password. If the user enters the root username and password, they will be granted full access to the server as the root user. This is known as root-login over SSH.
Why Should We Disable Root-login Over SSH?
Disabling root-login over SSH is an important security measure for Linux servers. There are several reasons why this should be done −
Security − The biggest reason to disable root-login over SSH is security. When a hacker gains access to a server as the root user, they have complete control over the system. They can install malware, steal sensitive information, and cause irreparable damage.
Auditing − Disabling root-login over SSH also makes it easier to track and audit user activity on the server. When a user logs in as root, it is difficult to determine which actions were performed by that user. By disabling root-login over SSH, you can ensure that all actions taken by the root user can be traced back to a specific individual.
Compliance − Many organizations have compliance requirements that mandate the use of strong authentication and access controls. Disabling root-login over SSH can help organizations meet these requirements and avoid costly penalties.
Protecting Root Password − When hackers try to brute force the root account, it's a high risk of being compromised. Disabling root login over SSH will prevent the hackers from guessing the root's password and gain access to the server.
In summary, disabling root-login over SSH is a best practice for securing Linux servers. It improves the security of your server, makes it easier to track and audit user activity, and can help organizations meet compliance requirements.
How to Disable Root-login over SSH
Edit the SSH Configuration File
The first step in disabling root-login over SSH is to edit the SSH configuration file. This file is typically located at /etc/ssh/sshd_config.
To disable root-login over SSH, open the file in a text editor and change the line "PermitRootLogin yes" to "PermitRootLogin no".
Restart the SSH Service
After editing the configuration file, you must restart the SSH service to apply the changes. You can do this by running the command "service ssh restart" or "systemctl restart ssh".
Create a New User
Once root-login over SSH is disabled, you should create a new user with a strong password. This new user can be used to access the server via SSH, and will have the ability to perform most tasks that the root user can perform.
In conclusion, disabling root-login over SSH is a good idea for many reasons. It improves the security of your server, makes it easier to track and audit user activity, and can help organizations meet compliance requirements. With the above examples, you can easily disable root-login over SSH and secure your Linux server.
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