Local user login fails suddenly in RHEL 7 with an error "PAM unable to dlopen /usr/lib64/security/pam_unix.so" when McAfee agent is running

Solution Verified - Updated -


  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7
  • PAM
  • McAfee
  • Trend Micro


  • Local user login started failing suddenly in RHEL 7 and an error below could be observed in /var/log/secure:

    PAM adding faulty module: /usr/lib64/security/pam_unix.so
    PAM unable to dlopen(/usr/lib64/security/pam_unix.so): /usr/lib64/security/pam_unix.so: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory


  1. Remove/Disable McAfee Agent from server:

    # rpm -e --force McAfeeVSEForLinux

    This step is important otherwise McAfee may remove the pam_unix.so library file again.

  2. Reinstall PAM Package:

     # yum reinstall pam

    If system is inaccessible, reinstall pam package in Rescue environment. Reference: How to install or re-install a package in rescue mod.

  3. Then try to login.

Root Cause

NOTE : In one of the situations, it was observed that, the similar issue was caused by Trend Micro anti-virus. After disabling the Trend Micro manually as per Manually deactivate, stop, or start the agent and re-installing the pam package helped.

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Diagnostic Steps

  • Below error is observed in /var/log/secure
Mar  1 08:40:01 example.com sshd[1808]: PAM unable to dlopen(/usr/lib64/security/pam_unix.so): /usr/lib64/security/pam_unix.so: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory
Mar  1 08:40:01 example.com sshd[1809]: PAM adding faulty module: /usr/lib64/security/pam_unix.so
  • The removal of pam_unix.so file is recorded in /var/log/messages:
$ cat messages | grep pam_unix
Feb 27 11:03:01 example.com mfetpd: CEF:0|McAfee LLC|McAfee Endpoint Security for Linux Threat Prevention||3021|OASManager|7|deviceProcessName=/opt/McAfee/ens/tp/bin/mfetpd msg=Infection caught File Name: /usr/lib64/security/pam_unix.so File Size: 57720 Infection Name: LINUX/Miner.aw Virus Type: Trojan File Md5 Hash: d5b9a1845152d8ad2b91af044ff16d0b Time: 1645941781 Process Name: /usr/sbin/crond User Name: root Profile Type: 1 rt=2022-Feb-27 11:03:01
  • Check if file /usr/lib64/security/pam_unix.so exists
ls -l /usr/lib64/security/pam_unix.so

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Hi, But what is that "Solution Unverified".

McAfee the bane of all sysadmins.