Keep in mind: this post appeared originally in 2008 on my previous blog
In openSUSE there is a feature called Auto-Login. In short it means that the root can decide which user account should be started as default upon boot, without displaying a login prompt. If you are the only user on a system it might come in handy as you dont have to type your password each time. Moreover, when installing openSUSE this option is enabled by default.
Though for me it is a possible weakness in my security management. People call me paranoid, I call it common sense and good practice. I’m the only user on my system, but from time to time I have guests in my house (that I both know very good and less good). Auto-Login would mean that they just have to push the power button to have access to almost all my data. If you send me a trusted document, then I want to make sure nobody else can read it. No matter if this *nobody else* is a relative or an unknown.
For years now I have adopted two standards for myself:
Whenever I leave my computer, I lock the session. Only thing I need to do is enter my password upon return.
For visitors I have created a guest account, with limited access and no rights whatsoever on my home directory. If a guest wants to check email, print a document, surf the web, (s)he is very welcome
and I’m happy that I don’t have to be paranoid any longer.
Of course there are ways to bypass the login prompt and gain root access, but for 99,99% of the possible users this is no issue.
Note: If you want to turn off the default Auto-Login in openSUSE go to *Yast – Security and User – User Management – Expert Options – Login Settings* and tickle the Auto Login box .