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I have over ten web servers to manage and configure, with each server having its own root user and password. I have to maintain a database of all the root passwords on my development machine, but I would ideally like to have something a lot more secure and less cumbersome.

I have considered using a different SSH key as a root login, but there may be a time when I will login to a server using a non-root user and then issue a su command to hop in when I need to install or launch something. Either way I would have to make the decision to login as a user before I connect to the host or during the connection session.

Any recommendations?

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Unify the passwords to a single/couple secure ones? –  techie007 Sep 7 '11 at 4:25
    
Have you looked at some form of password safe app? e.g. passwordsafe.sourceforge.net It's still a database, but at least it's self contained and secure. –  Rhys Gibson Sep 7 '11 at 5:38
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2 Answers

Separate SSH keys would work. (You can use ssh root@0 instead of su.)

sudo is another option – it asks for your own password before giving root privileges.

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I found this. You may want something like it. Here is the description:About the size of a smart phone, this is the device that secures account information for website addresses, usernames, passwords, and ATM PINs, and stores them for immediate retrieval. Unlike password information stored on a computer, your passwords are stored offline in the vault's memory, ensuring sensitive information can never be compromised. The vault's keyboard slides out--accounts and additional text notes can be typed after entering an initial password. It can store up to 400 account records, mitigating the risky practice of leaving passwords on notes under keyboards or using one password for all accounts. Buttons scroll between accounts for display on the LCD. In case the device is misplaced, lost, or stolen, five unsuccessful attempts to access your accounts will lock the device for 30 minutes--your passwords are safely protected. The entire device can be reset--permanently erasing all data--by pressing the reset button. Built-in flash memory retains passwords in memory when the CR2032 battery requires changing.

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Did I understand your question properly? –  wizlog Sep 7 '11 at 3:46
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