Security of using sudo rather than su?

Dennis Kaarsemaker dennis at
Thu Sep 14 11:58:58 UTC 2006

On do, 2006-09-14 at 13:46 +0200, Alexander Skwar wrote:
> Dennis Kaarsemaker <dennis at>:
> > On do, 2006-09-14 at 10:18 +0100, Adam Funk wrote:
> >> 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?
> > 
> > Because normally, root *can* login over ssh and 'root' is a very
> > well-known username. So sudo actually doubles security by having to
> > guess both a username and a password instead of just a password.
> Hm. But you have to guess only one username and one password, while
> without sudo, you have to guess one username and two passwords.
> How is the security doubled when using sudo?

Without sudo you have to guess 0 usernames and 1 password.
Dennis K.

Time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so.
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