SSH Error: /etc/shells is either world writable or not a normal file

Written by Mike on February 26, 2009 – 11:52 pm -

Recently while trying to login into a VPS; SSH was not accepting Password for the user root. So, I logged into the VPS from Hardware Node (Host Server) and checked /var/log/messages to get exact Error. Following are the logs which were stored in /var/log/messages file

Feb 23 23:51:10 server PAM-shells[13512]: /etc/shells is either world writable or not a normal file
Feb 23 23:51:14 server PAM-shells[13512]: /etc/shells is either world writable or not a normal file
Feb 23 23:51:17 server PAM-shells[13535]: /etc/shells is either world writable or not a normal file
Feb 23 23:52:49 server sshd(pam_unix)[15414]: authentication failure; logname= uid=0 euid=0 tty=ssh ruser= rhost=server.example.com user=root

When I checked the permissions of the file /etc/shells and it was set to 777 (universal writable).

root@server [~]# ll /etc/shells
-rwxrwxrwx  1 root root 32 Feb 23 23:54 /etc/shells*

So, I changed the permission of the file to 644 and able to login into SSH.

root@server [~]# chmod 644 /etc/shells
root@server [~]# ll /etc/shells
-rw-r--r--  1 root root 32 Feb 23 23:55 /etc/shells
root@server [~]#

Hope this fix will work for you too… waiting for your comments.


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