Change admin username
It should be possible for the admin user to change his user login name. The name "admin" is not very secure, because it's easiert to hack via brute force. The hackers know, the name is "admin". If the user would be able to change his login name, it would increase the security of Plesk Panel.
We have serious doubts this function can really increase server security:
1) Plesk has built-in protection against brute-force on login – it will lock the login form. So no one can try multiple attempts
2) Arbitrary login name adds very little guess-complexity to a proper password. If you have concerns for your login brute-forced – add another 5-7 characters into your password and feel safe.
As changed login name is still very likely to be some sort of vocabulary word or derived from your other account name – this function would only give a false sense of better security. Your security strength is in complex password, not in a complex login name. If you have one good password, you don’t need to treat login as your “second password” – one good password is enough.
As for concerns that default password requirement is set in “weak”, that fail2ban module is not enabled by default or may consume extra resources, etc – they are much irrelevant here. If someone is not willing investing some time into setting better password, into changing password policy or into installing/enabling server protection – changed admin name will again be only a false sense of security. If a password is “1234567”, then login doesn’t really matter.
flytigo 12 commented
flytigo 12 commented
Amin Taheri commented
Agree - +1
We cant use Fail2Ban (It tanks our server due to # of domains/customers) and being able to change the username would be great since it takes the guess work out of brute force attacks.
it also seems like a very easy thing to allow for - even if it does (in your opinion) only make people feel better, if people are asking for it, perhaps its better business to give it to them than to argue with them about why they think they want it?
David Venancio commented
I am very sorry, but I have to disagree totally.
If we can change the "admin" username, of course it will add more complexity to brute force attacks.
Statistically can even change the fact that Joomla will be less targeted than it is now.
I am afraid you are misinformed about locking admin or perhaps have much outdated information.
In case someone is trying to bruteforce your password, you remain safe:
- Plesk won't lock you if someone will try to bruteforce your password. Instead Plesk will add small delay on every false attempt, which doesn't make much difference for legitimate user (you), but makes any bruteforce nearly impossible as it would take too long.
- The Fail2ban module will lock a particular IP. So intruder will be locked, but you will be able to login safely. Except (of course), when intruder works from the same computer as you are, which could be the case when you decide to test your Plesk for bruteforce resistance (so you were the "intruder"). But in the real world it is much unlikely scenario
Some may also complain that bruteforcing itself can be considered DDoS attack, however different login name doesn't help here either - whether login is "admin" or not, the system will consume roughly the same resources on validating the attempt.
So the summary is:
- alternative login just cannot add more security than password already does. Adding extra symbol in password is equally effective as adding extra symbol in login name.
- intruders cannot lock you from logging in. They can only lock themselves
I can understand the fear when people see their servers are scanned, however looks like many people are looking for a false cure - scans won't disappear just because of the login changed. It doesn't take too much effort to try different login names in those bruteforce scripts.
Many internet services would use emails as login names. As those emails are often publicly known it should have been considered as a huge security threat, but of course everyone recognizes that it is not a weak login that compromises security - but a weak password does.
If you don't feel safe about your server, make sure you
1) have fail2ban module fully enabled. it will lock any bruteforce intruder quickly
2) have 2-factor auth extension installed. i.e. Clef. Here is an overview of available solutions: http://devblog.plesk.com/2015/02/passwords-in-plesk-just-say-no/
3) enable strong passwords in settings or just make sure your password is strong enough - not a dictionary word, not derived from a dictionary word, and includes digits and special characters.
Those things really improve security.
Hope it helps
Andrea, you have to watch your language here.
It cannot be really critical whether hacker has as login as a starting point or not - anyway they know your server IP. If your password is secure, you are safe. Add dp12kln88d as a prefix to your password and you will have those extra "497....eee..." combinations. No difference. You can add much more into your password actually.
Security is obtained via password, not via login.
For those concerned for brutefocring - just enable fail2ban in Plesk and an intruder will be blocked after first few attempts.
Andrea, i agree.. a more secure username is "not important." ???
Or if i wanted to piss off a web admin if i am having an argument with them.. then i go to their control panel and just toss random junk at their "admin" account so that it locks them out on purpose. that is the point right ? cant brute force it so it locks you out ? and what if that is my intent ? to lock out the real admin ? i would be happy to do that all day, keep someone locked out of their own system. all i need to know is their admin account login is named "admin"
You can already add additional admin users, if required, since Plesk 11.5:
Increasing server security is not the only reason to allow an alternate administrative username. How about auditing. If you have multiple people using a system you have multiple usernames to keep track of them.We are assuming there is always one administrator?
Which service are you talking about? Plesk itself locks you out for a while by default after a small number of incorrect logins as admin or root (both work by default btw). Other services managed by Plesk prohibit using admin as a username, e.g FTP. You could use admin@domain as an email login if you setup admin@ as a mailbox but it wouldn't be logical any other way.
I'm unsure if the Plesk API locks you out after a few incorrect attempts but the API is disabled by default and needs enabling by command line so when enabling it you have a great opportunity to check the admin password is strong, and the API is restricted to certain IP's. Where you have to leave it open simply enable fail2ban.
I still don't see any significant advantage to having this feature and think it's time best spent on other improvements.
Just have a look at the logs that show how the lower life forms are tying to enter your server: Username "admin" (or root depending on the service) is their way to go. I wonder why "admin" is even allowed by Plesk? Now "all there is to it" is finding a password for "admin". Not allowing "admin" will reduce the chance of entering the server with brute force by a zillion times.
I would agree that "real" system admins would tackle this themselves. But Plesk could help educate people when needed, right? Why is the default password strength set to "weak"? Let me guess: "admin" + "1234567"? (I sure hope those despicable life forms don't read this comment :-) )
Fail2Ban is not installed by default (and even if installed later it is not activated by default). And in a way this feature is an indispensable but costly/active substitute for a password-like username.
Not using "Admin" is a great free/passive safety improvement and a giant leap backwards for those pesky brute-force life forms.
O, and on the help page of this new feature ;-) you might as well add that it is best not to use your real name, your domainname, or "root" either. Even better: Treat it as a second password.
The risk can be mostly mitigated by using Fail2ban. I'm not sure how important this really is - and think it would add to confusion both for customers and support.
Really important, good idea!
i think this is good idea
seems we cannot yet change the log in which is for all users on plesk a standard log in . This is very regrettable as we believe programming this is easy and would increase security
Any update on this important feature? Nine months have passed...
Not only should this be an option, new admins should be prompted to use an alternate admin username. This will help in security.
that seem like a good idea
Yes, this is an important security feature. I once messed up my server trying to change the admin username.
Stéphan S commented
very good idea!
Is the id of admin also 0 ?
Or is there no id used to login (webgui / API)?
Anything to make it harder on them is a great win on our side.