local user get created magically ! system hacked ?

Jehan Procaccia jehan.procaccia at tem-tsp.eu
Wed Dec 4 21:42:01 UTC 2013

Le 04/12/2013 18:51, Rick Stevens a écrit :
> On 12/03/2013 11:47 PM, Michael Schwendt issued this missive:
>> On Tue, 03 Dec 2013 23:08:04 +0100, Jehan Procaccia wrote:
>>> hello
>>> I use about a hundred fedora19 stations in computer labs at our school
>>> users accounts comes from an ldap directory and the homedir is
>>> automounted via NFS.
>>> However, recently I noticed that on some stations, local user account
>>> had been created !
>>> looking at the log file, I discovered in /var/log/secure something like
>>> this:
>>> /accounts-daemon: request by system-bus-name ::1.733
>>> [/usr/libexec/gnome-initial-setup pid:15259 uid:991]: create user 
>>> 'foobar'//
>>> //useradd[29724]: new group: name=foobar, GID=1001//
>>> //secure-20131117:Nov 15 17:16:43 b3-4 useradd[29724]: new user:
>>> name=susana, UID=1001, GID=1001, home=/home/susana, shell=/bin/bash//
>>> //secure-20131117:Nov 15 17:16:43 b3-4 useradd[29724]: add 'susana' to
>>> group 'wheel'//
>>> //secure-20131117:Nov 15 17:16:43 b3-4 useradd[29724]: add 'susana' to
>>> shadow group 'wheel'/
>>> Scary ! how comes gnome-initial-setup could create users, and morever
>>> add them to the wheel group !
>>> could it be a bug in /gnome-initial-setup , /a feature side effect ? or
>>> our students found a "back door" ?
>>> any suggestion greatly appreciated .
>> See what running
>>    /usr/libexec/gnome-initial-setup --force-new-user
>> does on one of your installed machines, where 'susana' has not been 
>> active
>> before. Normally, it would prompt for the root password before 
>> creating a
>> new account, but perhaps something else happens with your setup.
> In the old days, a process called 'firstboot' was run immediately upon
> the first boot after a fresh install. firstboot was responsible for a
> number of things, but one of them was setting up the first user account
> and adding it to the "wheel" group because it was expected to be the
> administrator's account. firstboot never asked for the root password as
> it assumed it was being run as part of the install process by a human
> who installed the system and would already know the root password.
> Hence, the first user account was, by default, an administrative
> account in the wheel group who could sudo any command.
> Once firstboot had been run, it disconnected itself from the boot
> process by deleting a file in the root of the filesystem that an init
> script looked for. If the file wasn't there, firstboot wouldn't run.
> I don't run gnome (because it's so damned bloated), so I'm not sure what
> gnome-initial-setup does, but I suspect it took its cues from the old
> firstboot mechanism. If so, then what probably happened is that the 
> install process was interrupted after the OS was installed. Whoever did
> the install did NOT go through the first boot. "susana" was probably the
> first person to see the machine, booted it and got the first boot thing.
> She added herself, not knowing exactly what this meant at the time. I
> doubt she was being malicious.
> These are just guesses, mind you, but seem to be a likely scenario.
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> - Rick Stevens, Systems Engineer, AllDigital ricks at alldigital.com -
> - AIM/Skype: therps2        ICQ: 22643734            Yahoo: origrps2 -
> - -
> -      A day for firm decisions!!!   Well, then again, maybe not!    -
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
This senario is very possible
we installed our station automatically (cobbler2 kickstart + cfengine3 
for post config) and remotely , it is possible that some stations didn't 
finish correctly the install process
and that the "firstboot" process didn't finished properly .
Do you know how to check on a station if the "firstboot process" state 
is still "on" or "off", what about that mysterious file you mention
"/it disconnected itself from the boot //
//process by deleting a file in the root of the filesystem that an init //
//script looked for. If the file wasn't there, firstboot wouldn't run./"
what is its name ?

could this pb be relatated to:
not sure, because on a station that has the pb it seems disabled:

# /bin/systemctl status initial-setup-text.service
initial-setup-text.service - Initial Setup configuration program (text mode)
    Loaded: loaded (/usr/lib/systemd/system/initial-setup-text.service; 
    Active: inactive (dead)

and I do run my kickstart with
firstboot --disabled

  if you have other suggestions on how to prevent my users to create 
local "wheel" account , let me know !

Thanks .
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