IT Best Practices Tip: nist_V-38502

Severity: medium

Short Description

The /etc/shadow file must be owned by root.

Long Description

The "/etc/shadow" file contains the list of local system accounts and stores password hashes. Protection of this file is critical for system security. Failure to give ownership of this file to root provides the designated owner with access to sensitive information which could weaken the system security posture.

How to Check Correct Configuration

To check the ownership of "/etc/shadow", run the command:

$ ls -l /etc/shadow

If properly configured, the output should indicate the following owner: "root"
If it does not, this is a finding.

How to Fix

To properly set the owner of "/etc/shadow", run the command:

# chown root /etc/shadow