Authentication is performed by the ruserok library routine (see rcmd(3N)).
The file /etc/hosts.equiv specifies system-wide behavior, but individual users may alter this behavior by maintaining a .rhosts file in their home directories.
Note that since these files bypass the standard password-based authentication mechanisms, care must be taken in creating and maintaining these files. Otherwise, system security may be compromised.
The remote authentication procedure determines whether a particular remote user from a particular remote host should be allowed to access the local system as a (possibly different) particular local user. /etc/hosts.equiv is checked first, followed by the .rhosts file in the home directory of the specified local user.
The format of hosts.equiv is a list of names, as in this example:
host1 host2The .rhosts file has the same format as hosts.equiv. When user xxx executes rlogin or rsh, the .rhosts file from xxx's home directory is conceptually concatenated onto the end of hosts.equiv for permission checking. In the special case when the user is not an individual user then only the .rhosts file in root's home directory is checked.
It is also possible to have two entries (separated by a single space) on a line of these files. For example:
host1 user1 host1 user2In this case, if the remote host is equivalenced by the first entry, then the second entry specifies a user who is allowed to log in as the local user. Use of this form in /etc/hosts.equiv is discouraged, as it would allow the specified remote user to log in as any local user.
Negative entries may be specified by prefixing them with a minus sign (-). In this case, if the remote user or host matches the specification, access will be explicitly denied.
If NIS is enabled, netgroups (see
may be specified in either the host or user fields to match a number
of hosts or users in one entry.
``Administering the Network Information Service (NIS)'' in Administering the Network Information Service (NIS)
for more information.)
The following form allows access from all hosts in
the named netgroup:
When used in the ``username'' field, netgroups allow
a group of remote users to access the system as a
particular local user. The following form allows all of
the users in the named netgroup from the named
host (i.e. hostname) to access the system as the
The following form allows the users in netgroup2
from the hosts in netgroup1 to access the system
as the local user:
Netgroups may also be used to deny access by prefixing them with
a minus sign.
The following example will disallow access by all of the users
in the named netgroup from host
If authentication fails, the programs rsh(1tcp) and rcp(1tcp) will fail. rlogin(1tcp) will fall back to the standard password-based authentication.
NOTE: The .rhosts file must be owned by either the local user or root and writable only by the owner. Otherwise, it will be disregarded.
In addition, root's /.rhosts file must not be readable by other users (its permissions must be at most 600). Otherwise, root will not be able to log in from a remote machine.