Monday, 3 April 2017

A password for RISC OS

Recently I set up my Raspberry Pi to boot into RISC OS Pi, and I also showed you how to set a password for your Raspberry Pi for when it boots into Raspbian.

Although it is possible to set a password for your RISC OS Pi computer, horrible things happened last time I tried, and that resulted in a reinstall. I am not going to try again.

Instead I have written a BASIC program that performs the same operation. The file is set to run as soon as the computer boots and it is not possible to escape from the program until the correct password is entered. Although it is not the most secure of systems, it will prevent all but the most determined of attacker.

If you wish to follow these instructions, then they are split into the following sections:

  1. The code
  2. An explanation of the code
  3. Setting the file to run at boot time
The code

   10 REM Password protection
   20 REM T Street
   30 REM Version 2.0
   40 REM 2017-04-02
   50 :     
   60 pass$ = "fish"
   70 :    
   80 welcome$ = FNreadWelcome
   90 MODE 18:
  100 ON ERROR IF ERR = 17 RUN
  110 COLOUR 120
  120 PRINTTAB(0,1)welcome$
  130 ok% = FALSE
  140 guess$ = ""
  150 WHILE NOT(ok%)
  160   PRINTTAB(0,3)"Password : "STRING$(LEN(guess$),"*")" "
  170   g = GET
  180   IF LEN(guess$)=0 THEN PRINTTAB(0,5)STRING$(19," ")
  190   CASE g OF
  200     WHEN 8,127
  210     IF guess$<>"" THEN guess$=LEFT$(guess$,LEN(guess$)-1)
  220     WHEN 13
  230     IF guess$ = pass$ THEN OSCLI("DESKTOP") ELSE PRINTTAB(0,3)"Password : "STRING$(LEN(guess$)," "):
          guess$ = "":
  240     OTHERWISE
  250     IF LEN(guess$)<60 THEN guess$ = guess$ + CHR$(g)
  260   ENDCASE
  280 :     
  290 DEFFNreadWelcome
  300 LOCAL file%, welcome$
  310 file% = OPENIN(":0.Scripts.welcome")
  320 IF file% = 0 THEN = "RISC OS Pi, Welcome"
  330 WHILE NOT(EOF#file%)
  340   welcome$ = welcome$ + CHR$(BGET#file%)
  360 =LEFT$(welcome$,78)


You can either type the code directly into your BASIC editor in RISC OS, or download a copy of the file from OneDrive.

  • The password is set on line 60. 
  • Line 80 reads a custom welcome message from a text file set in line 310. You will need to provide a text file with your welcome message.
  • Line 110 should be omitted whilst you are developing and testing. It prevents the program from exiting on pressing of the "ESCAPE" key.
  • Line 310 reads a text file with your custom welcome message. For example you might want to provide a rude message for your little sister. You will need to provide this text in a text file called 'welcome'. You must also provide the full path to the file in line 310. Here I have it in a folder called 'Scripts' in my root directory.
  • Line 320 provides a default welcome message should the file not exist.  Note that only the first 78 characters of the welcome message are used by the program - so keep it short.

Setting the program to run at boot

Once you are happy that the program is running, save it and then add it to the programs that run at boot.  To do this select the '!configure' icon with a double left-click. Then single click 'Boot', then 'Run'. Drag the BASIC 'password' file into the 'Run at startup' window and click 'set', and then 'set' on the boot sequence.

This program will defeat all but the most determined of attackers. It will not stop someone from accessing the BASIC program itself once you are logged in. Although this program will deter the casual nosy parker from accessing your RISC OS machine, you should not rely on it for system security.

Still reading? How about some more Raspberry Pi stuff?

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