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Lesson 1

Process and User Accounting in Red Hat Linux

Question: Is the purpose of process and user accounting in Red Hat Linux to provide a way for system administrators to reduce the size and severity of challenges caused by troubleshooting security problems?
Yes, process and user accounting in Red Hat Linux, or any Linux distribution, indeed play a crucial role in mitigating the challenges associated with troubleshooting security issues. These features, however, are not limited to security issues alone but provide an array of functionalities that contribute to overall system administration.
  1. Security Mitigation: Process and user accounting aid in monitoring system usage and user activities, thereby assisting in the detection of potential security breaches or malicious activities. This insight allows administrators to react swiftly, reducing the potential impact of a security incident.
  2. System Auditing: These utilities generate detailed reports of system usage, such as time and resources used by different processes and users. This auditing capability aids in identifying unusual activity patterns or resource consumption that could indicate a problem, possibly of security nature.
  3. Troubleshooting: By providing a detailed log of user activities and processes, these features help administrators diagnose and troubleshoot a wide range of issues, including but not limited to security problems.
  4. Capacity Planning: Process and user accounting data can also be used for analyzing system performance and resource utilization over time, facilitating more informed decisions on system capacity and performance optimization.
  5. User Management and Billing: For systems with multiple users or in shared hosting environments, these tools can be used to track and bill users based on system usage.
  6. Policy Compliance: They can help ensure compliance with internal or external policies by providing a record of user activity and process execution.

In summary, while process and user accounting in Red Hat Linux significantly help mitigate security-related troubleshooting, their purpose extends beyond that. They form a critical part of system monitoring, auditing, user management, and policy compliance. These tools provide system administrators with a comprehensive view of system activity, allowing them to maintain robust, efficient, and secure operating environments.
Process and user accounting provide ways for system administrators to reduce the size and severity of headaches caused by troubleshooting security problems. In this lesson, you will learn how to monitor exactly what is happening on your system and how to use utilities and files to help you solve any problems you may encounter.
You always work hard to avoid experiencing major system problems, but sometimes it is unavoidable.
There probably will be a time when you log in to your system and notice that it is acting abnormally; for example, it may be acting a little sluggish. This might not be cause for alarm, since many of your programmers are in the process of testing new systems.
But, maybe your machine has been compromised and someone is downloading all your confidential software. This module will teach you how to detect problems such as these.

Red Hat Reference

Learning objectives

After completing this module, you will be able to:
  1. Describe system accounting
  2. Describe process accounting
  3. Describe process auditing
  4. Describe user auditing
  5. Use logfiles for accounting and auditing

The next lesson introduces you to system accounting.