How to set default session timeout in Linux

My DC operation guys access Linux servers on a daily basis but somehow they never remember to log out. This is a security risk as anyone could gain access to the open console and create caos.

Today, yet again I’m forced to play the bad guy by dummy proofing my Linux servers by implementing default timeout for user sessions.

Bash and Korn both support the TMOUT variable which I will use to set the default timeout.

The etc/.bashrc file will apply the timeout system wide but if you need it to be user specific then modify the ~/.bashrc file instead.

Here’s how it’s done.

echo "TMOUT=300 >> /etc/bashrc
echo "readonly TMOUT" >> /etc/bashrc
echo "export TMOUT" >> /etc/bashrc

Log off, start a new session and wait for 5 minutes. Your session should terminate