Johnny Zhang
By default, users can try to log into a Linux or in this case ESX server as many time as they want. Someone can sit there all day try to crack the password or just write up a script let it do the trick. You can change the behavior by add the following lines to /etc/pam.d/system-auth:

auth required /lib/security/pam_tally.so no_magic_root
account required /lib/security/pam_tally.so deny=3
no_magic_root

This will lock out the user after 3 attempts
(Keep in mind you might want to give more than 3 attempts before lock users out, just in case you forgot your password)

You can also setup the log to monitor it after this

To create the file for logging failed login attempts, execute the following commands:
touch /var/log/faillog
chown root:root /var/log/faillog
chmod 600 /var/log/faillog

Note: This will only work with VI3 since PAM on Redhat 5 (where ESX 4.x service console based on) does not work with those options

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