Security of using sudo rather than su?

Tchize tchize at
Thu Sep 14 09:39:51 UTC 2006

There is no full proof solution. You can argue the i need two password
to gain root access in the traditionnal way. I can argue that if i was
able to retrieve one password, i should anyway be able to retrieve the
second one as easily. However, if you are concerned about the fact that
having the user password is enough to gain administrative access, you
can still configure sudo to request the root password instead of the
user one. That make sudo with 2 passwords. Also, while su could let any
user knowing password as root, sudo is strictly limited to a small set
of users. If your mum's password is 'mum' and someone want to distantly
go root, your mum account is not enough.

Personnaly i don't see sudo better neither worse than su. It has
advantages and disadvantages. However the whole sudo thing bring the
notion of priviledged user (or local admins), which is important in
desktop environment where users don't want to play with their account
and a mysterious 'root'.
Adam Funk a écrit :
> I've read the official explanation of the locked root account [1] and
> it still seems to me that this system can reduce security (in
> comparison with the traditional approach) because an attacker
> (especially a remote attacker) can gain root privileges by cracking
> one password (the main user's) rather than two (since normally root
> isn't allowed to log in over ssh).
> Why is this view wrong?
> [1]

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