Skip to Main Content
IBM Power Ideas Portal

Shape the future of IBM!

We invite you to shape the future of IBM, including product roadmaps, by submitting ideas that matter to you the most. Here's how it works:

Post your ideas

Start by posting ideas and requests to this portal to enhance a Power product or service. Take a look at ideas others have posted and upvote them if they matter to you,

  1. Post an idea

  2. Upvote ideas and add comments to ideas that matter most to you

  3. Get feedback from the IBM team to refine your idea

Help IBM prioritize your ideas and requests

The IBM team may need your help to refine the ideas so they may ask for more information or feedback. The Power teams will then decide if they can begin working on your idea. If they can start during the next development cycle, they will put the idea on the priority list. Each team at IBM works on a different schedule, where some ideas can be implemented right away, others may be placed on a different schedule.

Receive notification on the decision

Some ideas can be implemented at IBM, while others may not fit within the development plans for the product. In either case, the team will let you know as soon as possible. In some cases, we may be able to find alternatives for ideas which cannot be implemented in a reasonable time.


Specific link you will want to bookmark for future use

IBM Unified Ideas Portal - https://ideas.ibm.com/ - Use this site to create or search for existing Ideas across all IBM products that are outside of Power, and track all of your personal interactions with all Ideas.

Status Submitted
Workspace PowerVM VIOS
Created by Guest
Created on Jun 17, 2022

Remove the fixed, built-in password of user vpgadmin and reduce the blast radius of the vpgadmin user

The VIOS vpgadmin user has a known pre-defined password(1), that can't be changed(2).

Although the user has login=false, and rlogin=false (3), it's a user that is part of the bin and system groups (4).

One common request of many security policies is that before a machine is put into production, all pre-defined passwords must be changed (5). Failure to do so involves risk letters and a protracted back-and-forth with the security people, to which is particularly hard to explain how 34 years after the Morris Worm, IBM thinks it's OK to ship a default password that can't be changed.

A possible solution:
- On install create a random 8-char password and stash it into a file.
- Said file should be owned by root, mode 640, and belong to a group (say group G).
- Binaries that have a need to know, belong to group G with a set-groupid flag. Password can then be read from the file without being exposed.
- One script to re-randomize the password (on every boot, or when the root user so decides)


1 - I know the password, I'm not putting it here. If I could find it, others can also.
2 - It's compiled in to at least one binary (see TS009575790), and IBM doesn't support changing it (see https://www.ibm.com/support/pages/purpose-user-id-vpgadmin-virtual-io-server)
3 - Having the ability to do defense in depth is a must-have for any operating systems.
4 - Being a part of the bin group allows it to replace any file in /usr/ucb, and being part of system allows it to run multiple commands with the same authority as root. A postgres instance owner should have ONE group: postgres.
5 - This is a best practice common across the industry, and was a part of IBM's own security rules until November 4, 2021.

Idea priority Urgent