Is there anyway one can determine when a user was created on Linux? I know of a couple of things one can do,but it's an unreliable way of doing it. The first option is checking when the home directory was created,running the command ls -ld /home/user to see the time stamp. Then there is the option of checking the bash_profile or bash_logout : ls -l /home/user/.bash_profile and ls -l /home/.bash_logout. Please assist me with a more reliable way to do this!


Fedora, which is pretty RedHatty, seems to log the use of useradd, even when invoked by root (rather than via sudo, which would of course also leave logs):

[root@anni log]# useradd foo
[root@anni log]# tail /var/log/secure
Sep 13 16:15:15 anni useradd[17621]: new group: name=foo, GID=502
Sep 13 16:15:15 anni useradd[17621]: new user: name=foo, UID=502, GID=502, home=/home/foo, shell=/bin/bash

How long you keep old copies of /var/log/secure is a matter for you and your logrotate config.


AFAIK, by default, Linux doesn't record the creation date.

  • I vaguely recall there being a logfile that gets written, but I may be thinking Debian based systems. AFAIK there's no "standard" location... – voretaq7 Sep 13 '11 at 15:05

You could monitor /var/log/secure for useradd entries:

Sep 13 17:11:08 *** useradd[27220]: new group: name=test, GID=515
Sep 13 17:11:08 *** useradd[27220]: new user: name=test, UID=514, GID=515, home=/home/test, shell=/bin/bash

Of course if the user is created in other ways (e.g., by editing /etc/passwd directly) you will be out of luck.

You could always monitor changes in /etc/passwd by storing a copy and at every check compare it with the old copy.


I don't know about the user creation time, but the first user login would be in /var/log/auth.log. Presumably the user logs in immediately after its user is created to setup his/her password. Anything in user's home directory is not reliable, as the user is able to overwrite it.

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