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Comment: Added a section about the 2005-12-12 security fix for CVE-2005-4158
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Comment: add important installation notes for new Debian users
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## Auto-converted by kwiki2moinmoin v2005-10-07
["root"]
#language en
##For Translators - to have a constantly up to date translation header in you page, you can just add a line like the following (with the comment's character at the start of the line removed)
## <<Include(sudo, ,from="^##TAG:TRANSLATION-HEADER-START",to="^##TAG:TRANSLATION-HEADER-END")>>
##TAG:TRANSLATION-HEADER-START
~-[[DebianWiki/EditorGuide#translation|Translation(s)]]: [[ar/sudo|العربية]] - [[sudo|English]] - [[es/sudo|Español]] - [[fr/sudo|Français]] - [[it/sudo|Italiano]] - [[ru/sudo|Русский]]-~
##TAG:TRANSLATION-HEADER-END
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Sudo is a program designed to allow a sysadmin to give limited ["root"] privileges to users and log root activity. The basic philosophy is to give as few privileges as possible but still allow people to get their work done. [[Root]] > sudo
----
~+Sudo+~ (sometimes considered as short for '''S'''uper-'''u'''ser '''do''') is a program designed to let system administrators allow some users to execute some commands as [[root]] (or another user). The basic philosophy is to give as few privileges as possible but still allow people to get their work done. Sudo is also an effective way to log who ran which command and when.
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 * [http://packages.debian.org/cgi-bin/search_packages.pl?version=all&subword=0&exact=1&arch=any&releases=all&case=insensitive&keywords=sudo&searchon=names Packages]. == Notes for new Debian users ==

Some Debian users, usually coming from Ubuntu, are shocked when "not finding a working sudo in Debian". However, this situation only happens if you have set a root password during your Debian installation.

If you like sudo and you want to install it (even if you skipped it during your installation), you can, but in the way without sudo, so, becoming root with the {{{su}}} command.

Example:

 {{{#!plain
$ su -
Password: (enter here the password you entered during your Debian installation and press Enter)

# apt install sudo

# adduser jhon-smith sudo
}}}

(Obviously just replace "jhon-smith" with your personal username)

Then please do a full logout and login.

== Why sudo? ==
Using {{{sudo}}} is better (safer) than opening a session as root for a number of reasons, including:
 * Nobody needs to know the root password ({{{sudo}}} prompts for the current user's password). Extra privileges can be granted to individual users temporarily, and then taken away without the need for a password change.
 * It's easy to run only the commands that require special privileges via {{{sudo}}}; the rest of the time, you work as an unprivileged user, which reduces the damage that mistakes can cause.
 * Auditing/logging: when a sudo command is executed, the original username and the command are logged.

For the reasons above, ''switching'' to root using {{{sudo -i}}} (or {{{sudo su}}}) is usually deprecated because it cancels the above features.

== Users and sudo ==

Debian's default configuration allows users in the `sudo` group to run any command via `sudo`.

=== Verifying sudo membership ===

Once logged in as a user, you can verify whether or not the user belongs to group=`sudo` using either the {{{id}}} or {{{groups}}} commands. E.g., a user with id=`foo` should see output from

 {{{#!plain
$ groups
}}}

like

 {{{#!plain
foo sudo
}}}

If `sudo` is not present in the output, the user does not belong to that group. Similarly, the more complex and variable output from command=`id` should look something like

 {{{#!plain
uid=1001(foo) gid=1001(foo) groups=1001(foo),27(sudo)
}}}

==== Add existing user from commandline ====

To add an existing user with id=`foo` to group=`sudo`:

 {{{#!plain
$ sudo adduser foo sudo
}}}

Alternatively, you can first get root (e.g., `sudo su -`) and then run the same commands without prefix=`sudo`:

 {{{#!plain
# adduser foo
# adduser foo sudo
}}}

After being added to a new group the user must log out and then log back in again for the new group to take effect. Groups are only assigned to users at login time. A most common source of confusion is that people add themselves to a new group but then do not log out and back in again and then have problems because the group is not assigned; be sure to [[#Verifying_sudo_membership|verify group membership]].

=== Creating users with sudo ===

You can also create new users with `sudo` membership:

==== Creating new user while installing OS ====

As of DebianSqueeze, if you give root an empty password during installation, {{{sudo}}} will be installed and the first user will be able to use it to gain root access (currently, the user will be added to the '''sudo''' group). The system will also configure {{{gksu}}} and {{{aptitude}}} to use {{{sudo}}}. You should still [[#Verifying_sudo_membership|verify group membership]] after logging in as the installed user.

==== Creating new user from commandline ====

A user which already has `sudo` can create another user (example id=`foo`) with `sudo` group membership from the commandline:

 {{{#!plain
$ sudo adduser foo -G sudo
}}}

(or first get root as in previous section).
You should then login as the new user and [[#Verifying_sudo_membership|verify group membership]].

== Configuration overview ==

Now, if you want to allow certain users to execute certain programs, here's a quick example (for more information, read the fine manual), which you can put in a file in /etc/sudoers.d, probably using visudo -f /etc/sudoers.d/myfile.

~-{{{#!plain
User_Alias MYADMINS = jdoe

Cmnd_Alias SHUTDOWN = /sbin/reboot, /sbin/poweroff
Cmnd_Alias PKGMGMT = /usr/bin/dpkg, /usr/bin/apt-get, /usr/bin/aptitude

# Users listed above (MYADMINS) can run package managers and reboot the system.
MYADMINS ALL = PKGMGMT, SHUTDOWN
}}}-~

== Problems and tips ==

=== Sorry, user jdoe is not allowed to execute ... ===
A typical session goes like this:
 {{{#!plain
$ sudo test

We trust you have received the usual lecture from the local System
Administrator. It usually boils down to these three things:

    #1) Respect the privacy of others.
    #2) Think before you type.
    #3) With great power comes great responsibility.

[sudo] password for jdoe:
Sorry, user jdoe is not allowed to execute '/usr/bin/test' as root on localhost.
}}}

This message means what it says: the user you're running as isn't allowed to execute the given command on the given machine. One confusing possible reason for this is that the administrator has just added user jdoe to a privileged group - but you're still using the old login, which doesn't have that new group information, and therefore has no new sudo-ing rights. People in this situation are usually advised to log out completely and back in again, though you can sometimes get away with just performing a "re-login on the spot" with {{{su - $USER}}} or changing group with {{{newgrp sudo}}}.

=== The include directive ===

The standard {{{/etc/sudoers}}} ends with a line:

 {{{#!plain
 #includedir /etc/sudoers.d
}}}

This makes it possible for other packages to provide snippets in {{{/etc/sudoers.d/<packagename>}}} which modify the configuration of {{{sudo}}}. It may look as if it needs to be edited to take out the leading numbersign (a.k.a. "hash" or "pound"), but no, the '#' is part of the directive!

It is recommended that you make local changes in a snippet as well.

=== sudoers is read-only ===

Yes, the file {{{/etc/sudoers}}} is intentionally set read-only, even for root!

The explanation is that it was set up this way to motivate admins to only ever edit it via the command {{{visudo,}}} which provides additional checking before leaving the new file in place. You might think that the fix for a mangled {{{/etc/sudoers}}}, the fix may be as simple as {{{su -c visudo}}}, but sudo is often used in a place where simply {{{su}}}'ing to root is not possible since you simply don't know the root password.

Beware, most text editors will let you edit the file without complaining about the read-only bit, so you might not automatically get this additional protection.

=== Require root password ===

If you want to require the root password for use of sudo, rather than the user password, add the line:

~-{{{#!plain
Defaults rootpw
}}}-~

=== No password prompt for sudo user ===

If you want sudo group members to execute commands without password, add the line:

~-{{{#!plain
%sudo ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD: ALL
}}}-~

=== Customize credentials cache timeout ===

As default, after asking a password, your credentials are cached by `sudo` and last for 15 minutes. You can change this behavior using the command {{{visudo}}} and customizing the timeout for a specific user:

~-{{{#!plain
Defaults:foobar timestamp_timeout=30
}}}-~

== See also ==
 * Manpages: [[DebianMan:5/sudoers|sudoers(5)]], [[DebianMan:8/sudo|sudo(8)]], [[DebianMan:8/visudo|visudo(8)]], [[DebianMan:8/sudoedit|sudoedit(8)]], [[DebianMan:8/sudoreplay|sudoreplay(8)]]
 * [[Doas]] - A lighter and more minimalistic tool for the same purpose, with simpler configuration.
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== Troubles and tweaks ==
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=== CVE-2005-4158 ===

With the fix for CVE-2005-4158: Insecure handling of PERLLIB PERL5LIB PERL5OPT environment vars, the default behaviour of handling environment variables was switched to protect against malicious local users with sudo privileges getting sudo to do more than the malcontent was given privileges to do.

 sudo (1.6.8p7-1.3) stable-security; urgency=high

  * Non-maintainer upload by the Security Team
  * Reverse the environment semantic by forcing users to maintain a whitelist [env.c, Bug#342948, CVE-2005-4158]

As a result, unless you modify your sudoers file to contain '''Defaults env_reset''', you may experiance problems using sudo like the following:

 * E138: Can’t write viminfo file $HOME/.viminfo!
 * dircolors: no SHELL environment variable, and no shell type option given
 * squidview: can't get your home directory, exiting

If you had more complex setups where you meant to pass through environment variables, your work around may be more complex or no longer possible.

http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=342948
CategoryRoot | CategorySystemSecurity | CategorySystemAdministration

Translation(s): العربية - English - Español - Français - Italiano - Русский


Root > sudo


Sudo (sometimes considered as short for Super-user do) is a program designed to let system administrators allow some users to execute some commands as root (or another user). The basic philosophy is to give as few privileges as possible but still allow people to get their work done. Sudo is also an effective way to log who ran which command and when.

Notes for new Debian users

Some Debian users, usually coming from Ubuntu, are shocked when "not finding a working sudo in Debian". However, this situation only happens if you have set a root password during your Debian installation.

If you like sudo and you want to install it (even if you skipped it during your installation), you can, but in the way without sudo, so, becoming root with the su command.

Example:

  • $ su -
    Password: (enter here the password you entered during your Debian installation and press Enter)
    
    # apt install sudo
    
    # adduser jhon-smith sudo

(Obviously just replace "jhon-smith" with your personal username)

Then please do a full logout and login.

Why sudo?

Using sudo is better (safer) than opening a session as root for a number of reasons, including:

  • Nobody needs to know the root password (sudo prompts for the current user's password). Extra privileges can be granted to individual users temporarily, and then taken away without the need for a password change.

  • It's easy to run only the commands that require special privileges via sudo; the rest of the time, you work as an unprivileged user, which reduces the damage that mistakes can cause.

  • Auditing/logging: when a sudo command is executed, the original username and the command are logged.

For the reasons above, switching to root using sudo -i (or sudo su) is usually deprecated because it cancels the above features.

Users and sudo

Debian's default configuration allows users in the sudo group to run any command via sudo.

Verifying sudo membership

Once logged in as a user, you can verify whether or not the user belongs to group=sudo using either the id or groups commands. E.g., a user with id=foo should see output from

  • $ groups

like

  • foo sudo

If sudo is not present in the output, the user does not belong to that group. Similarly, the more complex and variable output from command=id should look something like

  • uid=1001(foo) gid=1001(foo) groups=1001(foo),27(sudo)

Add existing user from commandline

To add an existing user with id=foo to group=sudo:

  • $ sudo adduser foo sudo

Alternatively, you can first get root (e.g., sudo su -) and then run the same commands without prefix=sudo:

  • # adduser foo
    # adduser foo sudo

After being added to a new group the user must log out and then log back in again for the new group to take effect. Groups are only assigned to users at login time. A most common source of confusion is that people add themselves to a new group but then do not log out and back in again and then have problems because the group is not assigned; be sure to verify group membership.

Creating users with sudo

You can also create new users with sudo membership:

Creating new user while installing OS

As of DebianSqueeze, if you give root an empty password during installation, sudo will be installed and the first user will be able to use it to gain root access (currently, the user will be added to the sudo group). The system will also configure gksu and aptitude to use sudo. You should still verify group membership after logging in as the installed user.

Creating new user from commandline

A user which already has sudo can create another user (example id=foo) with sudo group membership from the commandline:

  • $ sudo adduser foo -G sudo

(or first get root as in previous section). You should then login as the new user and verify group membership.

Configuration overview

Now, if you want to allow certain users to execute certain programs, here's a quick example (for more information, read the fine manual), which you can put in a file in /etc/sudoers.d, probably using visudo -f /etc/sudoers.d/myfile.

User_Alias      MYADMINS = jdoe

Cmnd_Alias      SHUTDOWN = /sbin/reboot, /sbin/poweroff
Cmnd_Alias      PKGMGMT = /usr/bin/dpkg, /usr/bin/apt-get, /usr/bin/aptitude

# Users listed above (MYADMINS) can run package managers and reboot the system.
MYADMINS ALL = PKGMGMT, SHUTDOWN

Problems and tips

Sorry, user jdoe is not allowed to execute ...

A typical session goes like this:

  • $ sudo test
    
    We trust you have received the usual lecture from the local System
    Administrator. It usually boils down to these three things:
    
        #1) Respect the privacy of others.
        #2) Think before you type.
        #3) With great power comes great responsibility.
    
    [sudo] password for jdoe: 
    Sorry, user jdoe is not allowed to execute '/usr/bin/test' as root on localhost.

This message means what it says: the user you're running as isn't allowed to execute the given command on the given machine. One confusing possible reason for this is that the administrator has just added user jdoe to a privileged group - but you're still using the old login, which doesn't have that new group information, and therefore has no new sudo-ing rights. People in this situation are usually advised to log out completely and back in again, though you can sometimes get away with just performing a "re-login on the spot" with su - $USER or changing group with newgrp sudo.

The include directive

The standard /etc/sudoers ends with a line:

  •  #includedir /etc/sudoers.d

This makes it possible for other packages to provide snippets in /etc/sudoers.d/<packagename> which modify the configuration of sudo. It may look as if it needs to be edited to take out the leading numbersign (a.k.a. "hash" or "pound"), but no, the '#' is part of the directive!

It is recommended that you make local changes in a snippet as well.

sudoers is read-only

Yes, the file /etc/sudoers is intentionally set read-only, even for root!

The explanation is that it was set up this way to motivate admins to only ever edit it via the command visudo, which provides additional checking before leaving the new file in place. You might think that the fix for a mangled /etc/sudoers, the fix may be as simple as su -c visudo, but sudo is often used in a place where simply su'ing to root is not possible since you simply don't know the root password.

Beware, most text editors will let you edit the file without complaining about the read-only bit, so you might not automatically get this additional protection.

Require root password

If you want to require the root password for use of sudo, rather than the user password, add the line:

Defaults   rootpw

No password prompt for sudo user

If you want sudo group members to execute commands without password, add the line:

%sudo ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD: ALL

Customize credentials cache timeout

As default, after asking a password, your credentials are cached by sudo and last for 15 minutes. You can change this behavior using the command visudo and customizing the timeout for a specific user:

Defaults:foobar timestamp_timeout=30

See also


CategoryRoot | CategorySystemSecurity | CategorySystemAdministration