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[suse-security] privacy of environment variables
I have a question about privacy of environment variables. I was always
brought up to believe that you must never store passwords or other
sensitive information in environment variables, because the environment is
visible to other users. This is certainly true on older Unix systems.
But a colleague did some experiments (on SuSE 9.3) and found that ps only
displays the environment for processes you own, which seems very sensible.
Likewise /proc/pid/environ is only readable by the owner (or by root, of
Now I don't want to rely on experiments, because there may be some other
mechanism I haven't thought of. Can anyone point me to some authoritative
information about the privacy of environment variables on modern Linux
The reason I ask is that my colleague is writing a script which will run
rpcclient and smbclient. One option would be to use Expect, but
environment variables are a much cleaner and simpler solution providing
they are safe.
Bob Vickers R.Vickers@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Dept of Computer Science, Royal Holloway, University of London
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