Setting the record straight on sudo
Source: TechRepublic - Posted by Anthony Pell   
Host Security I recently read a blog posting that denounced the use of sudo as insecure because of the following (briefly summed up and paraphrased) reasons:

  1. The idea that not using the root account is wrong, using root for everything is fine.
  2. That using sudo for everything provides a false sense of security over performing an action as root directly
  3. That using a user account password to get a root shell is a bad idea
  4. That using a root shell is not dangerous, and that this “grave misunderstanding” came from the idea that running X as root is dangerous
  5. That sudo has very little place in the Enterprise
  6. That relying on sudo is foolish, because it has bugs
  7. That everything should be done from a root shell, and that you should have to know the “uber-secret root password” to get that access
My first reaction to this blog posting was that the author had no idea how to use sudo properly or why you would want to. My second reaction was to give a big thank you to Ubuntu and OS X that, by default, provide a password-less root account and give administrators sudo access to everything, which pretty much leads to these kinds of silly anti-sudo articles.

To begin with, there is nothing wrong with using the root account if it is your system or you’re the administrator. Secondly, using sudo instead of a root shell is not more insecure. That’s simply ludicrous. The only difference is that with one you require knowing root’s password, and with the other you need to know your own password. If you are in the habit of using poor passwords, yes, this could bite you — but if you are already in the habit of using poor passwords, what’s to say that the root password isn’t just as bad?

And with systems like Ubuntu or OS X, where you don’t have a defined root password, you don’t have a choice but to use sudo (or to create the root password yourself but, in the end, the insecurity in all of this isn’t the software, it’s the end user coming up with poor passwords).

Read this full article at TechRepublic

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