Disabling the default IPMI credentials on a Supermicro server

In an earlier post I mentioned that you should disable the default ADMIN / ADMIN credentials on the IPMI controller. Here’s how.

Install ipmitool ^

ipmitool is the utility that you will use from the command line of another machine in order to interact with the IPMI controllers on your servers.

# apt-get install ipmitool

List the current users ^

$ ipmitool -I lanplus -H -U ADMIN -a user list
ID  Name             Callin  Link Auth  IPMI Msg   Channel Priv Limit
2   ADMIN            false   false      true       ADMINISTRATOR

Here you are specifying the IP address of the server’s IPMI controller. ADMIN is the IPMI user name you will use to log in, and it’s prompting you for the password which is also ADMIN by default.

Add a new user ^

You should add a new user with a name other than ADMIN.

I suppose it would be safe to just change the password of the existing ADMIN user, but there is no need to have it named that, so you may as well pick a new name.

$ ipmitool -I lanplus -H -U ADMIN -a user set name 3 somename
$ ipmitool -I lanplus -H -U ADMIN -a user set password 3
Password for user 3:
Password for user 3:
$ ipmitool -I lanplus -H -U ADMIN -a channel setaccess 1 3 link=on ipmi=on callin=on privilege=4
$ ipmitool -I lanplus -H -U ADMIN -a user enable 3

From this point on you can switch to using the new user instead.

$ ipmitool -I lanplus -H -U somename -a user list
ID  Name             Callin  Link Auth  IPMI Msg   Channel Priv Limit
2   ADMIN            false   false      true       ADMINISTRATOR
3   somename         true    true       true       ADMINISTRATOR

Disable ADMIN user ^

Before doing this bit you may wish to check that the new user you added works for everything you need it to. Those things might include:

  • ssh to somename@
  • Log in on web interface at
  • Various ipmitool commands like querying power status:
    $ ipmitool -I lanplus -H -U somename -a power status
    Chassis power is on

If all of that is okay then you can disable ADMIN:

$ ipmitool -I lanplus -H -U somename -a user disable 2

If you are paranoid (or this is just the first time you’ve done this) you could now check to see that none of the above things now work when you try to use ADMIN / ADMIN.

Specifying the password ^

I have not done so in these examples but if you get bored of typing the password every time then you could put it in the IPMI_PASSWORD environment variable and use -E instead of -a on the ipmitool command line.

When setting the IPMI_PASSWORD environment variable you probably don’t want it logged in your shell’s history file. Depending on which shell you use there may be different ways to achieve that.

With bash, if you have ignorespace in the HISTCONTROL environment variable then commands prefixed by one or more spaces won’t be logged. Alternatively you could temporarily disable history logging with:

$ set +o history
$ sensitive commend goes here
$ set -o history # re-enable history logging

So anyway…

$     export IPMI_PASSWORD=letmein
$ # ^ note the leading spaces here
$ # to prevent the shell logging it
$ ipmitool -I lanplus -H -U somename -E power status
Chassis Power is on