Unix Password File


 
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# 8  
Old 10-29-2001
Well, with standard unix commands there is no easy way for root to learn your password, however....

The reason that the encrypted password was removed from the /etc/passwd file is that it is possible to discover what the password is if you have that encrypted string. Root can indeed see the encrypted string and thus can break any password.

Root could also install a specially perpared version of the login program that saves the password in a file somewhere.

Root can also view the contents of memory and see the password as it is being processed by the login command.

These things are not easy, but they are possible.

I'm not sure exactly what it means to "trace a password", but there is no absolute barrier that will stop root from discovering your password.
# 9  
Old 10-29-2001
Since root can view the encrypted passwd, (in /etc/shadow or /etc/passwd), you can run a passwd cracker utility (such as john), and can usually crack the password. Shadow is available for all flavours of unix (I think). I know it is available for linux.
 
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