Manage Users in Linux

The IT Pro Challenge, Manage Users in Linux virtual lab, teaches how to create, modify, configure, and delete user and group accounts using the command-line in Terminal and text editor in vim. Lab experiences advance Cyber Defense Forensics Analyst, Network Operations Specialist, and System Administrator roles.

1 hour
Join over 3 million cybersecurity professionals advancing their career
Sign up with
Required fields are marked with an *

Already have an account? Sign In »


This lab trains the learners to create, modify, manage, and delete users in a CentOS7 Linux server. Trainees work in the Terminal and vim to set up and maintain users and change global user account configurations. Intermediate learners who have executed commands and edited scripts in vim have the necessary preparation. Lab participants should set aside a full hour to take the lab, as they cannot return in the middle.

Learners can find guidance when doing the lab’s tasks from the ‘hints’ links. The tips describe step by step how to form the commands and apply them to achieve lab goals. The tutorial also explains how to install software for Sundry, a GUI user and group account manager. Pressing a check button at the end of each lab section validates lab goals.

System administrators and many other IT professionals create, manage, and remove user accounts. Creating and assigning these users to group accounts makes managing application privileges more efficient. As learners follow the lab’s instructions, they follow security best practices fundamentals while providing the system resources users need.

Understand the scenario:

You are a system administrator for a Linux server. You need to configure default user accounts. Youl creates new user accounts, modify those accounts, and then you will then delete an account. Next, you manage group memberships and configure an administrative account. Finally, you install and use a GUI tool to manage users and groups.

Configure Default Settings for New Users:

This lab section shows how to edit default configurations for user accounts, such as password life-time and requirements. Learners also create one alias. Aliases shorten time typing commands by reducing the number of characters needed. Learners create a policy document, an excellent procedure to standardize aliases, and other requirements. That way, IT staff standardize user account requirements and can ensure security across the organization.

Create New User Accounts:

Learners obtain good practices by checking default account settings, creating users, setting default passwords, and verifying successful creation. Upon reviewing the ‘/etc/shadow’ file, participants observe the difference between user accounts with passwords versus those that have none. Opening the ‘/etc/shadow’ file can be a handy way to check the creation of a user account.

Modify an Existing User:

Lab participants modify individual accounts, in this section, including adding comments, locking an account, resetting a password, and its expiration date. Many IT requests involve resetting a user password as a result of an account lock. This lock occurs after mistyped passwords. Lab steps instruct the learner on how to handle such password requests.

Delete an Existing User:

Trainees apply the ‘userdel’ command to remove a user account. They then verify the deletion by viewing the /home directory.

Managing Users in Groups:

Learners set up a group and assign a user to that group. Lab participants then use two different commands ‘id’ and ‘tail /etc/group’ to check group membership.

Create an Administrative User Account:

To grant administrative rights (e.g., executing the ‘su - root’ command in Linux), user accounts need to be added to the wheel group. The wheel group, available by default, standardizes administrative permissions and only allows a small set of users. Some Linux distributions require initializing the wheel group, using the ‘visudo’ command. At the end of this lab, learners assign a user to the wheel group and check their tasks.

Manage Users by Using the GUI:

Participants install the Sundry application, a GUI used to manage users. Then learners use the graphical interface to manage users, an alternative to running commands in Terminal.


Learners advance their Linux skills though completion of this “Manage Users in Linux” virtual lab. Skills you will have learned include:

  • Configuring default user account settings.
  • Creating and modifying user accounts.
  • Deleting a user account and the related home directory.
  • Adding users to groups.
  • Granting administrative privileges to a user account.
  • Managing user and group accounts through the GUI tool.

To get ahead with additional Linux skills, learners should consider other Challenges:

  • GUIDED CHALLENGE: Get Root User Privileges in Linux
  • ADVANCED CHALLENGE: Can You Create and Schedule Scripts in Linux?