execute a command as another user
-h | -K | -k | -V
-v [-AknS] [-g group name|#gid] [-p prompt] [-u uname|#uid]
-l[l] [-AknS] [-g groupname|#gid] [-p prompt] [-U uname] [-u uname|#uid] [command]
[‑AbEHnPS] [‑C fd] [‑g groupname|#gid] [‑p prompt] [‑r role]
[‑t type] [‑u uname|#uid] [VAR=value] [‑i | ‑s] [command]
[-AnS] [-C fd] [-g groupname|#gid] [-p prompt] [-u uname|#uid] file …
Execute a command as the superuser or another user,
The real and effective uid and gid are set to match those of the target user, the group vector may be initialized based on the group database
As usual, different systems may have different versions of this utility, check man sudo for available options and exact operations
As of 5/8/13 this is taken from man of March 15, 2012 on a system with
See Sudo.ws for 1.8.6p8, released on April 11, 2013.
Frequently used by admins to perform an administrative function.
This allows login/auditing commands as syslog is sent a
notice similar to
sudo: uunnamme : TTY=ttys000 ; PWD=/private/var/log ; USER=root ; COMMAND=/bin/kill -hup 51
Sometimes used by admins to run a command for a user.
Redirections are started before user ID is changed.
This means that:
/etc > sudo ls -l > listOfiles
/etc > sudo ls -l > ~/listOfiles
Supports a plugin architecture for security policies and input/output logging. Third parties can develop and distribute their own policy
and I/O logging modules to work with the sudo front end. The default security policy is
sudoers, which is configured in
/etc/sudoers, or via
LDAP. See PLUGINS
Security policy determines what privileges a user needs and may require that users authenticate within a time limit.
Credential caching may allow the user to run
sudo again within a period of time without re-authentication.
-v updates cached credentials.
Security policies may log successful and failed attempts.
If an I/O plugin is configured,
command's input and output may be logged.
-e is implied.
Environment variables to be set for the command may also be passed on the command line in the form of VAR=value, e.g.
LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/local/pkg/lib. Variables passed on the command line are subject to the same restrictions as normal environment variables
with one important exception. If the setenv option is set in sudoers, the command to be run has the SETENV tag set or the command matched is
ALL, the user may set variables that would otherwise be forbidden. See sudoers(5) for more information.
| askpass, a (possibly graphical) helper program might interagate the user and output the password to stdout. |
$SUDO_ASKPASS is the path to the helper program.
/etc/sudo.conf may specify the
askpass program, . For example:
# Path to askpass helper program
Path askpass /usr/X11R6/bin/ssh-askpass
If no askpass program is available, sudo will exit with an error.
Normally, if sudo requires a password, it will read it from the user's terminal.
| background the given command. you cannot use
shell job control to manipulate the process. Most interactive commands fail in background mode.
|close file descriptors above |
fd which must be above the stder (3).
Normally, all open file descriptors above stderr are closed.
The security policy may only permit the user's ability to use
-C when the administrator has enabled the
|environment preserve preserve existing environment variables.|
| (edit) edit one or more files.
the string "sudoedit" is used when consulting the security policy.
If the specified file does not exist, it will be created. Note that unlike most commands run by sudo, the editor is run with the
invoking user's environment unmodified. If, for some reason, sudo is unable to update a file with its edited version, the user will
receive a warning and the edited copy will remain in a temporary file.
- Temporary copies are made of the files to be edited with the owner set to the invoking user.
- The editor specified by the policy is run to edit the temporary files. The sudoers policy uses the SUDO_EDITOR, VISUAL and
EDITOR environment variables (in that order). If none of SUDO_EDITOR, VISUAL or EDITOR are set, the first program listed in the
editor sudoers(5) option is used.
- If modified, the temporary files are copied back to their original location and the temporary versions are
| run the command with the primary group set to |
group . Normally, sudo runs a command with the primary group set to the one specified by the password database for the user the command is
being run as (by default, root).
To specify a gid instead of a group name, use #gid. When running commands as a gid, many shells require that the '#' be escaped
with a backslash ('\'). If no -u option is specified, the command will be run as the invoking user (not root). In either case, the
primary group will be set to group.
| (HOME) the security policy set the HOME environment variable to the home directory of the target user
(root by default) as specified by the password database. Depending on the policy, this may be the default behavior.
| (simulate initial login) option runs the shell specified by the password database entry of the target user as a login shell.
This means that login-specific resource files such as .profile or .login will be read by the shell. If a command is specified, it
is passed to the shell for execution via the shell's -c option. If no command is specified, an interactive shell is executed. sudo
attempts to change to that user's home directory before running the shell. The security policy shall initialize the environment to
a minimal set of variables, similar to what is present when a user logs in. The Command Environment section in the sudoers(5)
manual documents how the -i option affects the environment in which a command is run when the sudoers policy is in use.
|(kill) cached credentials, will not update the user's cached credentials.|
Does not require a password if used without
Allows revoking sudo permissions from
| ( Kill ) removes the user's cached credentials entirely and
may not be used in conjunction with a command or other option. Does not require a password.
| lists the allowed (and forbidden) commands for the invoking user (or the user specified by |
-U ) on the current host.
If a command is specified and is permitted by the security policy, the fullyqualified path to the command is displayed along with any command line arguments.
If command is specified but not allowed, exit with a status 1.
-ll, or if
-l is specified multiple times, a longer list format is used.
Matching Defaults entries for dgerman on this host:
env_reset, reformatted. Notice strings with embedded spaces are in quotes
env_keep+=BLOCKSIZE, env_keep+="COLORFGBG COLORTERM", env_keep+=__CF_USER_TEXT_ENCODING,
env_keep+="CHARSET LANG LANGUAGE LC_ALL LC_COLLATE LC_CTYPE",
env_keep+="LC_MESSAGES LC_MONETARY LC_NUMERIC LC_TIME",
env_keep+="LINES COLUMNS", env_keep+=LSCOLORS,
env_keep+=SSH_AUTH_SOCK, env_keep+=TZ, env_keep+="DISPLAY XAUTHORIZATION XAUTHORITY",
User dgerman may run the following commands on this host:
| (non-interactive) prevents prompting the user for a password. If a password is required for the command to
run, sudo will display an error messages and exit.
| (preserve group vector) preserve the invoking user's group vector unaltered. By default, the sudoers
policy will initialize the group vector to the list of groups the target user is in. The real and effective group IDs, however, are
still set to match the target user.
| (prompt) default |
Override the system password prompt on systems that support PAM unless
|local host name without the domain name
| host name including the domain name (on if the machine's host name is fully qualified or the fqdn option is set in sudoers
|name of the user whose password is being requested (respects the rootpw, targetpw and runaspw flags in sudoers
|login name of the user the command will be run as (defaults to root unless the -u is also specified)
|invoking user's login name
|a single % character
passprompt_override is disabled in sudoers.
|(role) causes the new (SELinux) security context to have the role specified by role.
| (stdin) causes sudo to read the password from the standard input instead of the terminal device. The password must be
followed by a newline character.
| (shell) runs the shell specified by the SHELL environment variable if it is set or the shell as specified in the
password database. If a command is specified, it is passed to the shell for execution via the shell's -c . If no command is
specified, an interactive shell is executed.
| (type) causes the new (SELinux) security context to have the type specified by type. If no type is specified, the
default type is derived from the specified role.
| (other user) is used in conjunction with the -l to specify the user whose privileges should be listed. The
security policy may restrict listing other users' privileges. The sudoers policy only allows root or a user with the ALL privilege
on the current host to use this .
| (user) causes sudo to run the specified command as a user other than root. To specify a uid instead of a user name,
use #uid. When running commands as a uid, many shells require that the '#' be escaped with a backslash ('\'). Security policies
may restrict uids to those listed in the password database. The sudoers policy allows uids that are not in the password database as
long as the targetpw is not set. Other security policies may not support this.
| version output its version string and the version string of the security policy plugin and any I/O
plugins. If the invoking user is root |
-V displays arguments passed to configure when sudo was built and
plugins may display more verbose information such as default options.
| validate , update the user's cached credentials, authenticating the user's password if
necessary. For the sudoers plugin, this extends the sudo timeout for another 15 minutes (or whatever the timeout is set to in
sudoers) but does not run a command. Not all security policies support cached credentials.
| stop processing command line arguments.
Plugins are dynamically loaded based on the contents of the /etc/sudo.conf file. If no /etc/sudo.conf file is present, or it contains no Plugin
lines, sudo will use the traditional sudoers security policy and I/O logging, which corresponds to the following /etc/sudo.conf file.
# Default /etc/sudo.conf file
# Plugin plugin_name plugin_path plugin_options ...
# Path askpass /path/to/askpass
# Path noexec /path/to/sudo_noexec.so
# Debug sudo /var/log/sudo_debug all@warn
# Set disable_coredump true
# The plugin_path is relative to /usr/libexec unless
# fully qualified.
# The plugin_name corresponds to a global symbol in the plugin
# that contains the plugin interface structure.
# The plugin_options are optional.
Plugin policy_plugin sudoers.so
Plugin io_plugin sudoers.so
A Plugin line consists of the Plugin keyword, followed by the symbol_name and the path to the shared object containing the plugin. The
symbol_name is the name of the struct policy_plugin or struct io_plugin in the plugin shared object. The path may be fully qualified or
relative. If not fully qualified it is relative to the /usr/libexec directory. Any additional parameters after the path are passed as
arguments to the plugin's open function. Lines that don't begin with Plugin, Path, Debug or Set are silently ignored.
A Path line consists of the Path keyword, followed by the name of the path to set and its value. E.g.
Path noexec /usr/lib/sudo/sudo_noexec.so
Path askpass /usr/X11R6/bin/ssh-askpass
The following plugin-agnostic paths may be set in the /etc/sudo.conf file.
askpass The fully qualified path to a helper program used to read the user's password when no terminal is available. This may be the
case when sudo is executed from a graphical (as opposed to text-based) application. The program specified by askpass should
display the argument passed to it as the prompt and write the user's password to the standard output. The value of askpass may
be overridden by the SUDO_ASKPASS environment variable.
noexec The fully-qualified path to a shared library containing dummy versions of the execv(), execve() and fexecve() library functions
that just return an error. This is used to implement the noexec functionality on systems that support LD_PRELOAD or its
equivalent. Defaults to /usr/lib/sudo/sudo_noexec.so.
Versions 1.8.4 and higher support a flexible debugging framework that can help track down what sudo is doing internally if there is a
A Debug line consists of the Debug keyword, followed by the name of the program to debug (sudo, visudo, sudoreplay), the debug file name and a
comma-separated list of debug flags. The debug flag syntax used by sudo and the sudoers plugin is subsystem@priority but the plugin is free to
use a different format so long as it does not include a command ,.
Debug sudo /var/log/sudo_debug all@warn,plugin@info
would log all debugging statements at the warn level and higher in addition to those at the info level for the plugin subsystem.
Currently, only one Debug entry per program is supported. The sudo Debug entry is shared by the sudo front end, sudoedit and the plugins. A
future release may add support for per-plugin Debug lines and/or support for multiple debugging files for a single program.
The priorities used by the sudo front end, in order of decreasing severity, are: crit, err, warn, notice, diag, info, trace and debug. Each
priority, when specified, also includes all priorities higher than it. For example, a priority of notice would include debug messages logged at
notice and higher.
The following subsystems are used by sudo:
|matches every subsystem
| command line argument processing
| user conversation
| command execution
| sudo main function
| network interface handling
| communication with the plugin
|pseudo-tty related code
| SELinux-specific handling
| utility functions
| utmp handling
Upon successful execution of a program, the exit status from sudo will simply be the exit status of the program that was executed.
Otherwise, sudo exits with a value of 1 if there is a configuration/permission problem or if sudo cannot execute the given command. In the
latter case the error string is printed to the standard error. If sudo cannot stat(2) one or more entries in the user's PATH, an error is
printed on stderr. (If the directory does not exist or if it is not really a directory, the entry is ignored and no error is printed.) This
should not happen under normal circumstances. The most common reason for stat(2) to return "permission denied" is if you are running an
automounter and one of the directories in your PATH is on a machine that is currently unreachable.
sudo tries to be safe when executing external commands.
To prevent command spoofing, sudo checks "." and "" (both denoting current directory) last when searching for a command in the user's PATH (if
one or both are in the PATH). Note, however, that the actual PATH environment variable is not modified and is passed unchanged to the program
that sudo executes.
Please note that sudo will normally only log the command it explicitly runs. If a user runs a command such as sudo su or sudo sh, subsequent
commands run from that shell are not subject to sudo's security policy. The same is true for commands that offer shell escapes (including most
editors). If I/O logging is enabled, subsequent commands will have their input and/or output logged, but there will not be traditional logs for
those commands. Because of this, care must be taken when giving users access to commands via sudo to verify that the command does not
inadvertently give the user an effective root shell. For more information, please see the PREVENTING SHELL ESCAPES section in sudoers(5).
To prevent the disclosure of potentially sensitive information, sudo disables core dumps by default while it is executing (they are re-enabled
for the command that is run). To aid in debugging sudo crashes, you may wish to re-enable core dumps by setting "disable_coredump" to false in
the /etc/sudo.conf file.
Set disable_coredump false
By default, most operating systems disable core dumps from setuid programs, which includes sudo. To actually get a sudo core file you
may need to enable core dumps for setuid processes. On BSD and Linux systems this is accomplished via the sysctl command, on Solaris the
coreadm command can be used.
the following environment variables. The security policy has control over the content of the command's environment.
|Default editor to use in -e (sudoedit) mode if neither SUDO_EDITOR nor VISUAL is set
| In -i mode or when env_reset is enabled in sudoers, set to the mail spool of the target user
| Set to the home directory of the target user if -i or -H are specified, env_reset or always_set_home are set in sudoers, or when
the -s option is specified and set_home is set in sudoers
| May be overridden by the security policy.
| Used to determine shell to run with -s option
|Specifies the path to a helper program used to read the password if no terminal is available or if the -A option is specified.
| Set to the command run by sudo
| Default editor to use in -e (sudoedit) mode
| Set to the group ID of the user who invoked sudo
| Used as the default password prompt
| If set, PS1 will be set to its value for the program being run
| Set to the user ID of the user who invoked sudo
| Set to the login of the user who invoked sudo
| Set to the target user (root unless the -u option is specified)
| Default editor to use in -e (sudoedit) mode if SUDO_EDITOR is not set
/etc/sudo.conf sudo front end configuration
Following examples assume a properly configured security policy.
Get a file listing of an unreadable directory:
$ sudo ls /usr/local/protected
List the home directory of user yaz on a machine where the file system holding ~yaz is not exported as root:
$ sudo -u yaz ls ~yaz
index.html file as user
$ sudo -u www vi ~www/htdocs/index.html
View system logs only accessible to root and users in the adm group:
$ sudo -g adm view /var/log/syslog
Run an editor as jim with a different primary group:
$ sudo -u jim -g audio vi ~jim/sound.txt
Shutdown a machine:
$ sudo shutdown -r +15 "quick reboot"
Make a usage listing of the directories in the
/home partition, runs the commands in a sub-shell to make the cd and file
$ sudo sh -c "cd /home ; du -s * | sort -rn > USAGE"
grep(1), su(1), stat(2), passwd(5), sudoers(5), sudo_plugin(8), sudoreplay(8), visudo(8)
See the HISTORY file in the sudo distribution (sudo.ws for a brief history of sudo.
There is no easy way to prevent a user from gaining a root shell if that user is allowed to run arbitrary commands via sudo.
Many programs (such as editors) allow the user to run commands via shell escapes, thus avoiding sudo's checks. However, on most systems it is
possible to prevent shell escapes with the sudoers(5) module's noexec functionality.
It is not meaningful to run
cd directly via sudo, e.g.,
$ sudo cd /usr/local/protected
since when the command exits the parent process (your shell) will still be the same.
Running shell scripts via sudo can expose the same kernel bugs that make setuid shell scripts unsafe on some operating systems (if your OS has a
/dev/fd/ directory, setuid shell scripts are generally safe).
Submit a bug report at sudo.wd/sudo/bugs
sudo-users mailing list, see sudo.ws/mailman/listinfo to subscribe or search the archives.
1.8.5 March 15, 2012
from smackerpro 5/8/13
# This file MUST be edited with the 'visudo' command as root.
# Otherwise syntax or file permission errors may prevent sudo from running.
# Host alias specification
# User alias specification
# Cmnd alias specification
# Defaults specification
Defaults env_keep += "BLOCKSIZE"
Defaults env_keep += "COLORFGBG COLORTERM"
Defaults env_keep += "__CF_USER_TEXT_ENCODING"
Defaults env_keep += "CHARSET LANG LANGUAGE LC_ALL LC_COLLATE LC_CTYPE"
Defaults env_keep += "LC_MESSAGES LC_MONETARY LC_NUMERIC LC_TIME"
Defaults env_keep += "LINES COLUMNS"
Defaults env_keep += "LSCOLORS"
Defaults env_keep += "SSH_AUTH_SOCK"
Defaults env_keep += "TZ"
Defaults env_keep += "DISPLAY XAUTHORIZATION XAUTHORITY"
Defaults env_keep += "EDITOR VISUAL"
Defaults env_keep += "HOME MAIL"
# Runas alias specification
# User privilege specification
root ALL=(ALL) ALL
%admin ALL=(ALL) ALL
# Uncomment to allow people in group wheel to run all commands
# %wheel ALL=(ALL) ALL
# Same thing without a password
# %wheel ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD: ALL
# %users ALL=/sbin/mount /cdrom,/sbin/umount /cdrom
# %users localhost=/sbin/shutdown -h now