Ensure All Files Are Owned by a User


If any files are not owned by a user, then the cause of their lack of ownership should be investigated. Following this, the files should be deleted or assigned to an appropriate user. The following command will discover and print any files on local partitions which do not belong to a valid user:

$ df --local -P | awk {'if (NR!=1) print $6'} | sudo xargs -I '{}' find '{}' -xdev -nouser

To search all filesystems on a system including network mounted filesystems the following command can be run manually for each partition:

$ sudo find PARTITION -xdev -nouser


Unowned files do not directly imply a security problem, but they are generally a sign that something is amiss. They may be caused by an intruder, by incorrect software installation or draft software removal, or by failure to remove all files belonging to a deleted account. The files should be repaired so they will not cause problems when accounts are created in the future, and the cause should be discovered and addressed.


For this rule to evaluate centralized user accounts, getent must be working properly so that running the command

getent passwd

returns a list of all users in your organization. If using the System Security Services Daemon (SSSD),

enumerate = true

must be configured in your organization’s domain to return a complete list of users