FOSSPicks

Security tool

PAM Duress

A few years ago, I was doing quite a bit of traveling between the US and Europe with my usual array of technology. I was worried about what I should do if I was forced to unlock a device and either hand that device over or permit the device to be searched. While I wasn't involved in anything that might be considered investigative journalism, I did want to set a good example and behave appropriately if anything like this happened. One impractical solution I envisaged was letting someone else encrypt my devices, so I could honestly say I didn't know how to unlock them (with the intention of asking that trusted someone for the keys when I arrived safely). Another more practical option was to take devices completely empty of anything, setting them up and erasing them as I arrived and departed again. Of course, I was never organized enough to do either of these things.

If PAM Duress had been around, I would have gone for this solution. The pluggable authentication module (PAM) system is at the heart of granting access to your Linux devices, and PAM Duress is a module that can trigger scripted behavior when you enter a password that's different from the one you'd normally use to unlock your data and device. These duress scripts can delete all your data, automatically send a notification to someone, or do whatever other function you desire. Installation is relatively straightforward and similar to any other PAM module. The scripts that are executed when a certain password is entered are signed and cannot be tampered with, although there is a testing function that can ensure the module is working correctly before deleting your data (for example). Everything works as expected. This may be a project with a very specific objective. If it appeals to you, PAM Duress performs a brilliant and essential function.

Project Website

https://github.com/nuvious/pam-duress

It's difficult to show PAM Duress in action, but it's easily enabled by simply editing your PAM configuration (after making a backup of your system).

Usage monitor

Buy this article as PDF

Express-Checkout as PDF
Price $2.95
(incl. VAT)

Buy Linux Magazine

SINGLE ISSUES
 
SUBSCRIPTIONS
 
TABLET & SMARTPHONE APPS
Get it on Google Play

US / Canada

Get it on Google Play

UK / Australia

Related content

  • FOSSPicks

    Graham recently found the perfect use for his old Nintendo DS Lite. Thanks to having exactly the same screen resolution, it now runs the brilliant ZXDS Sinclair ZX Spectrum emulator.

  • Big Shot: OpenShot Video Editor Version 1.0 Released

    Video clip editors have been in short supply under Linux. Jonathan Thomas is now trying to fill that gap with the first stable version of the OpenShot Video Editor.

  • FOSSPicks

    Over the past couple of months, Graham's ever-versatile Steam Deck has synced books to an e-reader, played movies on a television, joined Mumble, recorded two podcast episodes, and even played a few games.

  • Video Editor Roundup

    In a comparison test, we checked out nine free video editing programs: Cinelerra, Flowblade, Kdenlive, Kino, Lightworks, LiVES, OpenShot, Pitivi, and Shotcut.

  • FOSSPicks

    This month Graham explores Carla, digiKam 7, NoiseTorch, diskonaut, Surge 1.7, Trigger Rally, and more.

comments powered by Disqus

Direct Download

Read full article as PDF:

Price $2.95

Subscribe to our Linux Newsletters
Find Linux and Open Source Jobs
Subscribe to our ADMIN Newsletters
Find SysAdmin Jobs

News