reasons not to use automatic login? [solved]

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polarvortex
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reasons not to use automatic login? [solved]

Post by polarvortex » Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:11 am

I know that if an attacker is physically sitting at your computer then automatic login is less secure because they can just turn on your computer and go straight in without a password.
But is it less secure besides that?
Are there other reasons not to use automatic login?
Last edited by polarvortex on Fri Jun 14, 2019 7:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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xenopeek
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Re: reasons not to use automatic login?

Post by xenopeek » Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:22 am

If somebody has physical access to your computer, they do not need your password to get access to your files. The only thing that would mitigate that risk is by using disk encryption.

There are a few reasons to not use automatic login. Some that come to mind immediately:
  • By not typing your password regularly, you risk forgetting it :)
  • Should your account become corrupted (the dreaded login, black screen, return to login screen) it will be a bit more cumbersome to repair or diagnose correctly.
  • Certain programs, like Google Chrome and Chromium, do not work well with automatic login (because they store private data in the session keyring and normally the session keyring is unlocked with your password at login but as you login automatically that doesn't work; which makes Google Chrome and Chromium require a password to start as they will force a password on their private data in the session keyring).
Beyond that I don't think it's any less secure. You would still need to provide your password to approve administrative actions so any malware doesn't have free reign just because you have automatic login. With above caveats, it's safe from security perspective as long as you trust everybody that could have physical access to your computer.
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Pierre
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Re: reasons not to use automatic login?

Post by Pierre » Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:25 am

most of my computers & all of those that I've set-up, for another person:
- will *not* have to use automatic login - - to enforce the use of that Password,
& thus be *not* forgetful of that password - - which also has to be used for any System Updates, as well.
:)
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murray
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Re: reasons not to use automatic login?

Post by murray » Wed Jun 12, 2019 5:35 pm

If your computer gets stolen then the thief can get in easily and access your home directory if you have automatic login enabled.
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karlchen
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Re: reasons not to use automatic login?

Post by karlchen » Wed Jun 12, 2019 5:43 pm

Murray, xenopeek had covered that case already in his post above. Unless disk encryption is used, the thief will be able to access the disk content, whether he gets logged in automatically or not.
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murray
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Re: reasons not to use automatic login?

Post by murray » Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:45 pm

karlchen wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 5:43 pm
Murray, xenopeek had covered that case already in his post above. Unless disk encryption is used, the thief will be able to access the disk content, whether he gets logged in automatically or not.
Sure, xenopeek covered physical access, but he didn't meantion theft specifically. I had a friend who didn't bother securing his computer because he lived alone and didn't think anyone would be able to access his computer. And then he got burgled and his computer was stolen. He sure wished he'd secured his computer a bit more then!
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jglen490
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Re: reasons not to use automatic login?

Post by jglen490 » Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:03 pm

Reasons to NOT use automatic logon?

Best reason: you care about your data. But even that is a choice, nonetheless ...
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polarvortex
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Re: reasons not to use automatic login?

Post by polarvortex » Fri Jun 14, 2019 7:41 pm

You can use automatic login and care about your data. Unless you think that anyone who doesn't encrypt their hard drive doesn't care about their data...

Personally I would never use automatic login, but I know some people who would prefer it

Thanks for the replies, and thanks xenopeek for the answers

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Re: reasons not to use automatic login? [solved]

Post by jglen490 » Fri Jun 14, 2019 10:09 pm

I don't disagree. However, encryption keeps the casual snoop out, but does nothing against the dedicated thief with the right tools. That dedicated thief with the wrong tools, might just whack your drive badly enough that you need to recover - if you have that.

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