Administrative Access Commands On Linux

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We have multiple commands which deal with sensitive information like passwords, system hardware on Linux. By preventing regular users from executing these commands helps to protect the system. In order to gain administrative access and gain some of the privileged commands you have to be logged in as a root user.

List of Commands

  • The SU Command

    su OPTIONS USERNAME
    The su command allows you to temporarily act as a different user.
    By default, if a user account is not specified, the su command will open a new shell as the root user, which provides administrative privileges.
    After executing the su command a password is required.
    As a security measure, the password will not be visible as it is typed, so you have have to type it correctly.

    admin@localhost:~$ su  -
    Password:
    root@localhost:~#
    

    As you can see the has changed and reflected to root@localhost switching from admin@localhost:. This means you are now logged in as a root user.
    To logout and return to admin account use exit command, It will change back

    root@localhost:~# exit
    logout
    admin@localhost:~$
    

    To avoid executing any sensitive commands, we configure the Steam Locomotive command, the sl command, to require administrative access. If the command is executed as admin in this case, it fails:

    admin@localhost:~$ sl
    -bash: /usr/bin/sl: Permission denied
    

    To execute the sl command with administrative access use the su to switch to the root account

    admin@localhost:~$ su  -
    Password:
    root@localhost:~# sl
    
  • The Sudo Command

    syntax: sudo [options] command
    The sudo command allows a user to execute a command as another user without creating a new shell.
    Like the su command, the sudo command assumes by default the root user account should be used to execute commands.

NOTE: The sudo command can be used to switch to other user accounts as well. To specify a different user account use the -u option.

sudo provides administrative access for the execution of the specified command. This is an advantage as it reduces the risk that a user accidentally executes a command as root.

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