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.
Troubles and tweaks
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.