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1.8 Protecting Hardware

Physical security for the systems is discussed, as is access to floppy, CD-ROM readers, tape drives, and other issues. Many people are not aware that almost any system can be taken over in one minute merely by inserting a rogue floppy or CD-ROM and pressing the reset button or momentarily interrupting power at the switch, the plug, or the building's main breaker. Many systems are so accommodating that they will ask the intruder what file on the disk she would like to boot as the kernel. Without special configuration, simply supplying the single parameter when booting Linux will bypass all password checks.

The name floppy is the original name of the magnetic disk media using a flexible plastic envelope. It is the author's recollection that IBM coined the term diskette as sounding more professional when they made business presentations in three-piece suits.

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