Bug 799988 - security policy: root password needed when it shouldn't be
Summary: security policy: root password needed when it shouldn't be
Alias: None
Product: Fedora
Classification: Fedora
Component: cups-pk-helper
Version: 16
Hardware: x86_64
OS: Linux
Target Milestone: ---
Assignee: Marek Kašík
QA Contact: Fedora Extras Quality Assurance
URL: http://ponzo.net/PolKit-printer/
Depends On:
TreeView+ depends on / blocked
Reported: 2012-03-05 14:51 UTC by Scott Doty
Modified: 2013-02-13 19:05 UTC (History)
4 users (show)

Fixed In Version:
Doc Type: Bug Fix
Doc Text:
Clone Of:
Last Closed: 2013-02-13 19:05:48 UTC
Type: ---

Attachments (Terms of Use)

Description Scott Doty 2012-03-05 14:51:44 UTC
Description of problem:


Upstream, they say this is a problem with Fedora, not them.

Version-Release number of selected component (if applicable):


How reproducible:

Try adding a networked printer.  Requires root password, which unnecessarily exposes root password to interception and compromise.

Since users, in almost all cases, can contact network printers on their own, requiring _any_ password for a user to add a printer for their own use does nothing but needlessly expose passwords to interception and compromise.

Additional info:



Comment 1 Tomas Mraz 2012-03-05 15:51:34 UTC
Well as long as the printer is set up system-wide and the machine is a multi-user machine this is still a security problem to not require any sysadmin authentication. As you could add silently a printer for other users that would intercept the documents that they are printing.

So I'd say definitely no need to ask for a password if the printer is set just for the user that asks for the action, otherwise some kind of authentication is surely needed being it root or wheel group user password.

Comment 2 Scott Doty 2012-03-05 16:03:38 UTC
Agreed, Tomas -- though as you can see from the screenshots, I was asked for both my (wheel) user password, as well as root password at the very last.

Also, this is reported here:


Comment 3 Tomas Mraz 2012-03-05 16:11:49 UTC
Yes, there is no dispute that the current process is really suboptimal.

Comment 4 Rex Dieter 2012-03-05 20:46:00 UTC
I'm not able to reproduce your claim that a root password is required.

I ran system-config-printer, tried to add a network printer, was prompted for my own admin (wheel group) password by polkit 3 times, but never saw the forth one you mention.

Am I missing something?

Comment 5 Rex Dieter 2012-03-05 20:48:58 UTC
Someone else on irc just mentioned seeing the root dialog too, so sounds like I am indeed doing something different or wrong.

Comment 6 Marek Kašík 2012-03-06 11:13:59 UTC

I agree with Tomas here. As long as we set the printer system-wide we need to require sysadmin authentication. Also, CUPS needs root privileges when adding a printer using lpadmin.

Regarding the wheel group, it asks you for your user (wheel) password if you are in the group. The last dialog is a bug in cups-pk-helper or system-config-printer, you shouldn't see it when adding a printer. It is system-config-printer's fail-safe dialog for situation when communication with cups-pk-helper failed (or for authentication of jobs requiring authentication).

Does the dialog show name of an operation in its title? Something like "Authentication (adding printer LaserJet)"?



Comment 7 Fedora End Of Life 2013-01-16 15:54:51 UTC
This message is a reminder that Fedora 16 is nearing its end of life.
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Comment 8 Fedora End Of Life 2013-02-13 19:05:52 UTC
Fedora 16 changed to end-of-life (EOL) status on 2013-02-12. Fedora 16 is 
no longer maintained, which means that it will not receive any further 
security or bug fix updates. As a result we are closing this bug.

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