Just as the best mechanics tinker to improve the performance of an automobile, the best Linux geeks tinker to improve the security and speed of the operating system on their computers. When a Linux geek tinkers with the start sequence, he changes the configuration of his system, starting with the boot process, and continues with user logins.
There are a number of potential annoyances that affect the speed and security of a Linux system. Default configurations start too many services. We show you how to minimize this risk.
I spend a lot of time on passwords in this chapter because it's important to get them right at the very start, and because problems with root passwords can require you to reboot the system. In this chapter, I show you ways to require users to choose strong passwords. I also show you how to recover if you've lost your root password. Unfortunately, the same method that allows you to bypass the root password may allow a cracker to take control of your system. Therefore, this chapter also discusses physical and system boot security.
Defaults in terminal and service configurations allow too many people to log in, even with blank passwords. All of this work may be for naught unless you remember to keep your systems physically secure.