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Security In Context

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Sudo May Be For Sandwiches But Not Your Enterprise

Post by Peter McCalister December 14, 2010

Sudo has been one of the Unix/Linux administrator and self-designated geek’s best friend for the last two decades, but it probably isn’t right for your enterprise.  For one thing, it’s open source software, which means no one company can be held accountable for bug fixes, enhancements or any liability resulting from flaws in design.  Being a software guy, I naturally lean towards licensed code and have even written on the subject of licensed code versus freeware.  So it begs the question, “What can I use sudo for safely?”  I just love the t-shirts atThinkGeek.com because they told me what sudo is actually good for… ordering sandwiches!

In all seriousness, though, many Information Technology (IT) professionals believe that by implementing sudo across their enterprise, they are now protected from the intentional, accidental and indirect misuse of privilege.  Unfortunately, that is not the case, as anyone with a browser and the keywords “sudo breach,” “sudo tricks” or “sudo hack” will learn.   If you have three minutes to spare, there is even a YouTube video to show you how in step-by-step instructions for the Guy Hawkes Hack.

We have spent some time on this in ealier posts.  For a refresh, check out 6 Things You Should Know About Sudo.

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