Fedora 35 Might Drop Installer Option To "Allow SSH Root Login With Password"

Written by Michael Larabel in Fedora on 15 May 2021 at 06:23 PM EDT. 21 Comments
A Fedora 35 change proposal submitted this week that is ruffling some feathers is over removing the "allow SSH root login with password" option from Fedora's Anaconda installer.

The past several years there has been a Fedora installer option to "allow SSH root login with password" to enable password-based logins over SSH. This hasn't been enabled by default but simply offered as an option for those wanting a password based login.

With Fedora 35 this autumn the change proposal wants to eliminate this option from the installer. The basis is that the option was planned to only be temporary and security benefits in just dropping the option to encourage users to rely on SSH keys, etc.

The Fedora benefits were described as, "This change makes the Fedora systems installed by Anaconda more secure from remote password guessing attacks targeting the root account as it would no longer be possible to configure a system that allows root to login via SSH with password. A smaller benefit is making the root password configuration screen less confusing by removing the "Allow SSH root login with password" & Anaconda code cleanup related removing code related to setting up the override in sshd."

The change proposal outlining this planned option removal can be found via the Fedora Wiki. Early feedback to this proposal on fedora-devel being mixed. Some aren't fond of this non-default option being removed, some preferring password-based authentication for quick and short-lived VMs and other environments where security isn't of much concern, and other cases where password-based root SSH logins are convenient. We'll see what happens with this change proposal -- there's also some interest in potentially allowing this option to remain for select Fedora spins.
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