I have a hypervisor to run my VMs at home and I decided to finally rollout LDAP and Kerberos using FreeIPA.

I wanted to completely remove local login options, but this presented a minor problem - I wanted to make sure that if my LDAP server was down for any reason, I would still be able to access and troubleshoot priority systems. I login to systems via certificate but my sudo commands now require LDAP.

My priority systems are my hypervisor itself, my SSH bastion host VM, and my WebSockets SSH Proxy VM. If those are functional I can access and troubleshoot most everything else.

I wanted this access to be emergency only. I figured the best way to approach this was to have a complex root password that was only usable from my local network and notified me every time it was used.

I added a password for root on each of these systems (I usually never have one). I normally restrict my SSH port(s) to only allow incoming traffic from my proxy servers. In this case, I opened up SSH ports for traffic coming from my local network ( However I also wanted to ensure that any of my user account traffic (eldridgea@) was required to go through my proxy servers. After making the firewall changes, I added this to sshd_config:

Match Address 192.168.1.*, User root
      PermitRootLogin yes
      PasswordAuthentication yes

AllowUsers [email protected]
AllowUsers [email protected]
AllowUsers [email protected]
AllowUsers [email protected]/24

This “Match” section ensures that “PermitRootLogin” and “PasswordAuthentication” works only works on my local network and only for root. Root login is banned from elsewhere. The AllowUsers lines similarly allow root from my local network, but my personal user account is proxied.

For notifications I used sSMTP to send notifications using my Outlook account that I have for this purpose.

I set /etc/ssmtp/ssmtp.conf to my Outlook settings:

[email protected]

AuthUser[email protected]

Then in in /root/.bashrc I wanted to call a script that emails me on any login. Fortunately there were a couple good ones available on github. I used this one.

The end result is as long as I’m connected to my home network I can connect those 3 systems with a root password I have stored in Lastpass, and will get notified anytime a root shell is used.