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Linux Users and Groups Management

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1 Linux Users and Groups Management

2 Introduction Ubuntu Linux uses groups to help you manage users, set permissions on those users, and even monitor how much time they are spending in front of the PC. Normally Linux computers have two user accounts—your own user account, and the root account, which is the super user that can access everything on the PC, make system changes, and administer other users. Ubuntu works a little differently, though—you can’t login directly as root by default, and you use the sudo command to switch to root-level access when you need to make a change.

3 How Linux User Accounts Work
Linux stores a list of all users in the ‘/etc/groups’ file. You can run this command in the Terminal to to view and edit the groups and users in your system: sudo nano /etc/groups

4 How Linux User Accounts Work
Username Password By default, all user home directories are created and maintained in the /home directory. However, the root user’s home directory is /root

5 User Accounts storage Local This option stores user accounts in the /etc/passwd file. This has been the default configuration used by Linux systems for many years. /etc/passwd This file contains the user account information for your system. /etc/shadow This file contains passwords for your user accounts. /etc/group This file contains your system’s groups

6 The Superuser By default, one account has elevated privileges to issue any command, access any file, and perform every function Superuser, a.k.a. root User and group number 0

7 The Superuser Must limit use of root Limit what root can do remotely
Inexperienced users can cause serious harm Use of root for non-privileged tasks unnecessary and can be open to attack Security and privacy violations – root can look at anyone’s files Limit what root can do remotely Ensure a strong password

8 Superuser Privileges What usually works best is short periods of superuser privilege, only when necessary Obtain privileges, complete task, relinquish privileges Most common ways are su and sudo Can also use the setuid/setgid method, but not recommended

9 su Short for substitute or switch user Syntax: su [options] [username]
If username is omitted, root is assumed After issuing command, prompted for that user’s password A new shell opened with the privileges of that user Once done issuing commands, must type exit

10 sudo Allows you to issue a single command as another user
Syntax: sudo [options] [-u user] command Again, if no user specified, root assumed New shell opened with user’s privileges Specified command executed Shell exited

11 sudoers Must configure a user to run commands as another user when using sudo Permissions stored in /etc/sudoers Use utility visudo to edit this file (run as root) Permissions granted to users or groups, to certain commands or all, and with or without password being required

12 Other permissions models
Some Linux distributions such as Ubuntu obscure away the root account altogether By default the end user doesn’t know the root password Can’t login as root Can’t su Must rely on sudo (and the graphical gksudo) to obtain privilege, along with ‘Unlock’ functions in GUI

13 Creating and Managing User Accounts
Using useradd Using passwd Using usermod Using userdel

14 Using useradd Syntax: useradd options username example: useradd ken
ken account is created using the default parameters contained in the following configuration files: /etc/default/useradd /etc/login.defs This file contains values that can be used for the GID and UID parameters when creating an account with useradd. It also contains defaults for creating passwords in /etc/shadow.

15 Using userdel Syntax: userdel username example: userdel ken
It’s important to note that, by default, userdel will not remove the user’s home directory from the file system. If you do want to remove the home directory when you delete the user, you need to use the –r option in the command line. For example, entering userdel –r ken will remove the account and delete her home directory.

16 Group:Password:GID:Users
Managing groups Using groupadd Using groupmod Using groupdel groups are defined in the /etc/group file. Each record is composed of the following four fields: Group:Password:GID:Users Group Specifies the name of the group. In the example above, the name of the group is video. Password Specifies the group password.

17 Managing groups GID Specifies the group ID (GID) number of the group.
Users Lists the members of the group. As with /etc/shadow, each line in /etc/gshadow represents a record for a single group. Each record is composed of the following fields: Group_Name:Password:Group_Admins:Group_Members

18 groupadd options groupname
Using groupadd Syntax: groupadd options groupname Options: –g Specifies a GID for the new group. –p Specifies a password for the group. –r Specifies that the group being created is a system group

19 Using groupdel Syntax: groupdel group_name example: groupdel student

20 Managing ownership Anytime a user creates a new file or directory, his or her user account is assigned as that file or directory’s “owner.” For example, suppose the ken user logs in to her Linux system and creates a file named linux_introduction.odt using in home directory. Because she created this file, ken is automatically assigned ownership of linux_introduction.odt.

21 How ownership works Using chown Using chgrp
You can specify a different user and/or group as the owner of a given file or directory. To change the user who owns a file, you must be logged in as root. To change the group that owns a file, you must be logged in as root or as the user who currently owns the file. Using chown Using chgrp You can also view file ownership from the command line using the ls –l command

22 chown ken1 /tmp/myfile.txt
Using chown The chown utility can be used to change the user or group that owns a file or directory. Syntax chown file or directory. Example: If I wanted to change the file’s owner to the ken1 user, I would enter chown ken1 /tmp/myfile.txt If I wanted to change this to the users group, of which users is a member, I would enter chown .users /tmp/myfile.txt Notice that I used a period (.) before the group name to tell chown that the entity specified is a group, not a user account. Ex: chown student.users /tmp/myfile.txt Note: You can use the –R option with chown to change ownership on many files at once recursively.

23 Using chgrp In addition to chown, you can also use chgrp to change the group that owns a file or directory. Syntax: chgrp group file (or directory)‏ Example: chgrp student /tmp/newfile.txt.


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