Notes on eCryptfs PAM problem

I recently noticed that I can no longer create new users or change passwords on my laptop running Debian “squeeze”. I get an error message indicating that

authentication information cannot be recovered

After some digging around I realised that the problem is connected to the PAM (Pluggable Authentication Modules) system and some changes I made earlier to its configuration in order to encrypt a ~/Private/ directory with eCryptfs. I had followed the instructions in the Debian reference. It turns out that those instructions are outdated, the problem was fixed by removing my changes and running pam-auth-update where I just selected the ecryptfs module.

Posted by Mats Sjöberg.