Login Banner

Bug #1097053 reported by George Bobeck on 2013-01-07
This bug affects 5 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Ayatana Design
Ubuntu UX
Katie Taylor
unity-greeter (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

This is not a bug report. This is a feature request.

Many businesses, governmental agencies / organizations, and universities require a login banner to be displayed upon login as part of security policy.

In previous versions of Ubuntu, the desktop used GDM, which supported login banners. Unfortunately, lightdm and unity-greeter do not support login banners. As a result, administrators who wish to deploy current versions of Ubuntu on their networks must do a custom install of gdm and related configurations in order to meet this security requirement.

This adds an extra workload for the administrator, as they must perform the software swap, test the configurations, and run any remaining commands to enable the banner message. It is also lessens the ability to rebuild or reproduce a machine in disaster recovery or scripted deployments.

In summary, please add to the unity-greeter the ability to display a login banner.

Robert Ancell (robert-ancell) wrote :

Design, can you please pick the best location to place a banner?

Changed in unity-greeter:
status: New → Triaged
Robert Ancell (robert-ancell) wrote :

Hi George,

Thanks for the bug report. Can you give an example of a banner that would be shown? In particular how big should it be (i.e. how many lines of text) and does it need any special markup (e.g. bold, italic, font size)? Are images required?

Changed in unity-greeter:
importance: Undecided → Medium
George Bobeck (george-bobeck) wrote :
George Bobeck (george-bobeck) wrote :

For reference, I have attached 2 images from Lucid. The first one shows the login screen (with user listing disabled) without a login banner. The second one shows the login screen with a login banner.

In the past, when I enabled a login banner it was just text without special markup or images. The length of a login banner will vary from site to site as they are drafted by legal departments and must contain key phrases to meet legal obligations.

I currently use the following text (sanitized):

"This Information Resource is the property of <COMPANY>. The most current terms of use for this Information Resource can be found at <CORPORATE WEBSITE>. It is your responsibility to read, understand, and comply with <COMPANY> terms of use at all times. Unauthorized access is prohibited."

for some more examples of banners see pages 210 - 212 of http://www.justice.gov/criminal/cybercrime/docs/ssmanual2009.pdf

Hopefully that is a good starting point...

Robert Ancell (robert-ancell) wrote :

Thanks George, that's very useful. Is it important that the user needs to explicitly click through / acknowledge the banner or does it just need to be visible?

Robert Ancell (robert-ancell) wrote :

And also does the banner only need to appear when the login screen appears or each time a login occurs. e.g. If I walk up and login after someone else has closed the banner previously and I don't see it is that a problem?

George Bobeck (george-bobeck) wrote :

The login banner can just be a simple text box without a button to click to acknowledge. Generally, if the user reads the banner and logs onto the box that means they agree to the terms presented in the logon banner.

The login banner must be displayed at the login screen for every login. Think of this as the graphical version of placing a login banner in /etc/update-motd.d to be displayed when someone uses SSH to access the box.

If it helps any, you can see how this was implemented in GDM in 10.04 (the commands do not work in the version of GDM used in 12.04) by running the following commands below. This is what I ran to set up the machine from which I took the screenshots previously attached.

# Disable user list
gconftool-2 --direct --config-source xml:readwrite:/etc/gconf/gconf.xml.mandatory --type boolean --set /apps/gdm/simple-greeter/disable_user_list True

# Set login banner text
gconftool-2 --direct --config-source xml:readwrite:/etc/gconf/gconf.xml.mandatory --type string --set /apps/gdm/simple-greeter/banner_message_text_nochooser"This Information Resource is the property of <COMPANY>. The most current terms of use for this Information Resource can be found at <CORPORATE WEBSITE>. It is your responsibility to read, understand, and comply with <COMPANY> terms of use at all times. Unauthorized access is prohibited."

# Enable login banner
gconftool-2 --direct --config-source xml:readwrite:/etc/gconf/gconf.xml.mandatory --type boolean --set /apps/gdm/simple-greeter/banner_message_enable true

Katie Taylor (katie-t) on 2013-04-15
no longer affects: ubuntu-ux
Katie Taylor (katie-t) on 2013-04-16
Changed in ubuntu-ux:
status: New → Confirmed
John Lea (johnlea) on 2013-07-16
Changed in ubuntu-ux:
assignee: nobody → Katie Taylor (katie-t)
Katie Taylor (katie-t) on 2013-07-16
Changed in ubuntu-ux:
status: Confirmed → Invalid
affects: unity-greeter → unity-greeter (Ubuntu)
Ritesh Khadgaray (khadgaray) wrote :


  It is possible to use "greeter-setup-script" and "session-setup-script" with lightdm . This allows a user ro run a scrip to pop-up a dialog via zenity to present a information dialog.


$ cat /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf
# greeter-setup-script = Script to run when starting a greeter (runs as root)
# session-setup-script = Script to run when starting a user session (runs as root)
session-setup-script = /usr/bin/motorola


$ cat /usr/bin/motorola
# This is a example of what can be done
zenity --info --text Hi
# kIll gnome/unity session
killall -9 gnome-session


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