Cannot login as root at the console, login incorrect

  • 7014706
  • 06-Mar-2014
  • 06-Mar-2014


SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10
Novell Open Enterprise Server 11 (OES 11) Linux
Novell Open Enterprise Server 2 (OES 2) Linux


At the text console login screen, the error message "Login incorrect" is displayed when attempting to login as any user, including the root user. No user is allowed to login.

The root user and all other users can login to a graphical login. They can also ssh into the server.

The following error message(s) is displayed in the system log (/var/log/messages).

"login: pam_securetty(login:auth): /etc/securetty is either world writable or not a normal file"
"login[3452]: FAILED LOGIN 1 FROM /dev/tty2 FOR root, Authentication failure"

Reviewing a supportconfig pam.txt or running rpm -V pam shows:

.M.......  c /etc/securetty


Change the /etc/securetty permissions.

1. Login to a graphical login, or ssh into the server as root
2. Run chmod 644 /etc/securetty
3. Run rpm -V pam to confirm the errors have been resolved for /etc/securetty

If unsuccessful, you might also consider reinstalling the pam RPM package.


The pam authentication mechanism is designed to fail for security purposes if the /etc/securetty file has invalid permissions.