[TUHS] Two anecdotes

Alan Glasser alanglasser at gmail.com
Sat Nov 20 12:08:49 AEST 2021

Most of the hundreds (thousands?) of Unix systems running in Bell Labs seemed to have well guarded root passwords. There was always social engineering, like Rob mentioned. And, of course, setuid root exploits that I enjoyed. 

Another anectdote:
Sometime around 1975 the NSA became a proud owner of a Unix system. They rewrote a whole bunch. And invited Ken to visit. He surreptitiously observed someone logging into the console as root. A bit later, they asked him to have a seat and try to break in. He sat down and logged in as root. Apparently he was very good at observing keystrokes. He had to explain himself. I wonder if they would’ve let him leave otherwise. 

 - Alan

> On Nov 19, 2021, at 8:32 PM, Jon Steinhart <jon at fourwinds.com> wrote:
> My recollection from the 70s is that the default root password on
> all UNIX systems was "foo" and almost nobody ever changed it.

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