Linux Blog

Giving Telnet Access To Root

Filed under: General Linux — at 1:06 am on Thursday, October 11, 2007

After reading Gary Conn’s blog post The Top Ten Google Keyword Blunders. I naturally started searching thru The Linux Blog’s logs in attempt to find something interesting and irrelevant to my blogs main topic: Linux. Unfortunately I did not have that many terms that were funny like Gary’s but I do have one that could be funny to your average Linux user.

Behold the question:

“how to give root to access telnet in linux”

Something tells me that whoever made this search was probably your average Joe Windows Administrator, So in response I am writing a letter to whom ever made that search.

Dear Searcher,
While it is possible to give root telnet access under Linux I would strongly advise against it. To give root access you may want to consider using SSH. SSH is an encrypted session where as Telnet is transmitted in clear text; this is not acceptable and should be avoided. Even tho I recommend using SSH I would not recommend that you allow root to log in via SSH for security purposes. To aqquire root priviledges simply log in as a regular user and switch user to root as follows:
<a href="mailto:owen@the-linux-blog:~$">owen@the-linux-blog:~$</a> su
- or -
<a href="mailto:owen@the-linux-blog:~$">owen@the-linux-blog:~$</a> sudo su
The same commands would also work with telnet but still your root password would be transmitted in plain text. If you need any help setting this up, or further explanation please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Now, I understand that sometimes there are legitimate reasons to use telnet (such as for legacy purposes) but we all know that using telnet for remote administration is a BAD idea. If they or anyone else really need to know how to use telnet for a legitimate reason I will post how to do it, but until then it’s best kept a secret.