Wed, Apr
0 New Articles

Security Patrol

IBM i (OS/400, i5/OS)
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

Q:We want to restrict the access of one user profile to be able to sign on at one specific device only. The user profile should not be able to sign on to any other workstation. We created an authorization list named DEVICES and added the restricted user profile with *EXCLUDE authority. We then used that authorization list to secure all of our workstations except for the one the restricted user profile was to use. This worked well for existing devices, but new devices needed to be secured as they were created.

Is it possible to change the Create Device Display (CRTDEVDSP) command's default value for the authority (AUT) parameter to an authorization list name?

A:Yes. With the Change Command (CHGCMD) command, you can change the default value of the AUT parameter of the CRTDEVDSP command. This will secure new display devices with the authorization list.

However, do not change the command in library QSYS. Create your own version of the CRTDEVDSP in your own library (e.g., MYSYS) and then place the library in front of QSYS in the system portion of your library list. Then, the command defaults from your installation library will be used during the creation of devices. To create your own version, duplicate the IBM CRT-DEVDSP command and change the default to specify an authorization list on newly created devices.

Be sure to keep all changes to IBM commands in a CL program. When you install a new release, you may need to repeat the change of command defaults. This is important, even when you are using your own installation library such as MYSYS. The number of command parameters may change in the new release, and you will need to repeat the change of commands. Keeping all modifications to IBM objects greatly simplifies the release upgrade process.

One alternative to using the authorization list would be to change the initial program for the user profile. The initial program could check the device name and immediately sign off if it was not run from the correct workstation. This may be simpler than going to the trouble of creating a special library to contain customized commands, creating the customized commands, and naming an authorization list for every device.

Q:Our location uses the same user profile and password to start the Client Access router at the 200 PCs attached to our AS/400. What are the security ramifications of all users starting the router with the same profile? If all users use the same user profile, will it have a performance impact?

A: There is no performance impact for the same user profile being used to start the router. The major disadvantage of using the same user profile for each PC is there is no way to distinguish the users for file transfer purposes. System auditors do not like the use of shared user profiles because there is no individual accountability for actions when a large number of users share the same profile and password.

The use of the same user profile and password to start the Client Access router is often done so that the router startup can be automated through input redirection to avoid entry of the user profile and password. The following example illustrates the use of redirection to supply the user profile and password from the file SECRET.TXT.


I do not recommend this technique, but many AS/400 installations use it to simplify the startup procedures for the end users. The exposure is that anyone who can power on the PC will be able to start the Client Access router. At a minimum, I would recommend that the file that contains the user profile and password not be stored on the local hard drive (C) but instead be stored on a network server. Users will be required to sign on to the network before they are allowed to start the router. Storing the user profile and password on the network server also makes it easier to change the file that contains the profile and password. Making the change on 200 individual PCs is a very labor intensive effort.

If you are going to use a widely known user profile-such as PCUSER or GUEST-then you'll want to prevent users from being able to sign on to the AS/400 with the profile. The recommended procedure is to create the user profile in such a way that, if the user profile is used for an interactive sign-on, the user is immediately signed off. This can be done by specifying an initial menu of *SIGNOFF and no initial program.


In this situation, you should also prevent the user from getting access to the system request menu. The system request menu can be exploited to display information and messages that allow a hacker to break into your system.

I was conducting a security penetration test (i.e., getting paid to be a hacker), and I found a profile that had been created as shown above. When I signed on, I was immediately given a screen that told me my initial program had terminated and to press Enter to sign off. However, I used system request at that point and was able to display the messages for QSYSOPR and other user profiles. It took less than five minutes to find the name of another user profile that had a password that was the same as the user profile, and I had a command line.

To prevent specific users from seeing the system request menu, you must restrict their access to the QGMNSYSR panel group in QSYS. You can prevent a user from accessing QGMNSYSR by specifying *EXCLUDE authority.


I discovered another method (by accident) that is equally effective. If the user profile specifies an initial program that the user profile has no authority to, the user profile cannot be used to sign on, and IBM automatically blocks the system request menu.



Support MC Press Online

$0.00 Raised:

Book Reviews

Resource Center

  • SB Profound WC 5536 Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application. You can find Part 1 here. In Part 2 of our free Node.js Webinar Series, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Brian will briefly discuss the different tools available, and demonstrate his preferred setup for Node development on IBM i or any platform. Attend this webinar to learn:

  • SB Profound WP 5539More than ever, there is a demand for IT to deliver innovation. Your IBM i has been an essential part of your business operations for years. However, your organization may struggle to maintain the current system and implement new projects. The thousands of customers we've worked with and surveyed state that expectations regarding the digital footprint and vision of the company are not aligned with the current IT environment.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT Generic IBM announced the E1080 servers using the latest Power10 processor in September 2021. The most powerful processor from IBM to date, Power10 is designed to handle the demands of doing business in today’s high-tech atmosphere, including running cloud applications, supporting big data, and managing AI workloads. But what does Power10 mean for your data center? In this recorded webinar, IBMers Dan Sundt and Dylan Boday join IBM Power Champion Tom Huntington for a discussion on why Power10 technology is the right strategic investment if you run IBM i, AIX, or Linux. In this action-packed hour, Tom will share trends from the IBM i and AIX user communities while Dan and Dylan dive into the tech specs for key hardware, including:

  • Magic MarkTRY the one package that solves all your document design and printing challenges on all your platforms. Produce bar code labels, electronic forms, ad hoc reports, and RFID tags – without programming! MarkMagic is the only document design and print solution that combines report writing, WYSIWYG label and forms design, and conditional printing in one integrated product. Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Request your trial now!  Request Now.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericForms of ransomware has been around for over 30 years, and with more and more organizations suffering attacks each year, it continues to endure. What has made ransomware such a durable threat and what is the best way to combat it? In order to prevent ransomware, organizations must first understand how it works.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericIT security is a top priority for businesses around the world, but most IBM i pros don’t know where to begin—and most cybersecurity experts don’t know IBM i. In this session, Robin Tatam explores the business impact of lax IBM i security, the top vulnerabilities putting IBM i at risk, and the steps you can take to protect your organization. If you’re looking to avoid unexpected downtime or corrupted data, you don’t want to miss this session.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericCan you trust all of your users all of the time? A typical end user receives 16 malicious emails each month, but only 17 percent of these phishing campaigns are reported to IT. Once an attack is underway, most organizations won’t discover the breach until six months later. A staggering amount of damage can occur in that time. Despite these risks, 93 percent of organizations are leaving their IBM i systems vulnerable to cybercrime. In this on-demand webinar, IBM i security experts Robin Tatam and Sandi Moore will reveal:

  • FORTRA Disaster protection is vital to every business. Yet, it often consists of patched together procedures that are prone to error. From automatic backups to data encryption to media management, Robot automates the routine (yet often complex) tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAManaging messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. Messages need a response and resources must be monitored—often over multiple systems and across platforms. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events? Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAThe thought of printing, distributing, and storing iSeries reports manually may reduce you to tears. Paper and labor costs associated with report generation can spiral out of control. Mountains of paper threaten to swamp your files. Robot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing. Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAFor over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i. With batch job creation and scheduling at its core, the Robot Job Scheduling Solution reduces the opportunity for human error and helps you maintain service levels, automating even the biggest, most complex runbooks. Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:

  • LANSA Business users want new applications now. Market and regulatory pressures require faster application updates and delivery into production. Your IBM i developers may be approaching retirement, and you see no sure way to fill their positions with experienced developers. In addition, you may be caught between maintaining your existing applications and the uncertainty of moving to something new.

  • LANSAWhen it comes to creating your business applications, there are hundreds of coding platforms and programming languages to choose from. These options range from very complex traditional programming languages to Low-Code platforms where sometimes no traditional coding experience is needed. Download our whitepaper, The Power of Writing Code in a Low-Code Solution, and:

  • LANSASupply Chain is becoming increasingly complex and unpredictable. From raw materials for manufacturing to food supply chains, the journey from source to production to delivery to consumers is marred with inefficiencies, manual processes, shortages, recalls, counterfeits, and scandals. In this webinar, we discuss how:

  • The MC Resource Centers bring you the widest selection of white papers, trial software, and on-demand webcasts for you to choose from. >> Review the list of White Papers, Trial Software or On-Demand Webcast at the MC Press Resource Center. >> Add the items to yru Cart and complet he checkout process and submit

  • Profound Logic Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application.

  • SB Profound WC 5536Join us for this hour-long webcast that will explore:

  • Fortra IT managers hoping to find new IBM i talent are discovering that the pool of experienced RPG programmers and operators or administrators with intimate knowledge of the operating system and the applications that run on it is small. This begs the question: How will you manage the platform that supports such a big part of your business? This guide offers strategies and software suggestions to help you plan IT staffing and resources and smooth the transition after your AS/400 talent retires. Read on to learn: