“pi” no more: Raspberry Pi OS ditches longtime user account for security reasons

Most and Raspberry Pi OS, which is based on the most commonly used operating systems, is shipped with the Raspberry Pi. This makes the process of setting up and booting up a Pi simpler, as users don’t need to go through a multi-step setup process or connect a monitor to the device. Additionally, it eliminates the need for users to have any default user account security and regulatory reasons for shedding.

Simon Long, a software engineer at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, elaborates on the rationale behind this in his blog post.

He states, “[The “pi” user account] has the potential to simplify a brute-force attack to some extent, and as a result of this, several nations are currently implementing laws to prohibit any Internet-connected device from having preset login credentials.”

Before assigning a good password to the “pi” account, you could still reasonably assume that most Raspberry Pi boards were using the username “pi” with passwordless enabled user accounts, as many OS-based operating systems that ship with the Raspberry Pi also require extra steps to assign a password to the initial “pi” user account, thus improving the security system’s operation.

The Foundation’s lead in adopting new security practices should not choose to continue using the account “pi” on the Pi OS-based distros. There are also possible problems that could arise from running into them, which means that amateur and independent developers are likely to encounter difficulties. However, regardless of the account user being used, the software will still function in the same way. Well, some scripts and software may break if the hard-coded folder names and user account “pi” are changed, so it is advisable to use those variables instead. The flip side is that changing them could potentially break some scripts and software.

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When you start it up for the first time, instead of running the setup wizard as an application in the regular desktop environment, the Raspberry Pi OS now initiates a dedicated setup mode. Instead of just assigning a password, the default “pi” user account now prompts you to create a username and password. Additionally, the wizard can now connect Bluetooth keyboards and mice without the need for plugging in a USB accessory initially. The removal of the default user account has led to a few other modifications in the OS and its tools, similar to most other operating systems.

The identical action will achieve a coded passcode by generating a text document on the boot partition’s SD card. At present, it functions as a command line or desktop to directly initiate and configure the bypass to the Raspberry Pi’s operating system, enabling you to create a username and password before writing it to your SD card. Additionally, the Pi Imager tool and attached devices make it possible to run various Pi software distributions without the need for any specific type of monitor, commonly referred to as “headless.”

Long states, “The latest iteration of the Pi OS does not introduce numerous novel characteristics, but it does encompass a trial provision for the Wayland display server protocol, which has the potential to substitute several (although not all) attributes of the outdated X window system and is anticipated to become the forthcoming standard for desktop Linux.” Nevertheless, “the majority of individuals are advised to disregard Wayland in the Pi OS at present, as it has been explicitly designated as ‘experimental,’ and ‘numerous features are still not supported under Wayland.'”

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