Root access loggin

Paul Schmehl pauls at
Tue Jul 24 22:26:54 UTC 2007

--On Tuesday, July 24, 2007 23:00:47 +0100 Vince Hoffman-Kazlauskas 
<jhary at> wrote:

> \   \   Paul Schmehl wrote:
>> --On Tuesday, July 24, 2007 16:01:33 -0400 Ian Lord
>> <mailing-lists at> wrote:
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: John Fitzgerald [mailto:jjfitzgerald at]
>>> Sent: 24 juillet 2007 15:42
>>> To: Tom Grove
>>> Cc: freebsd-questions at; Ian Lord
>>> Subject: Re: Root access loggin
>>> I may be misunderstanding this, but wouldn't allowing only certain
>>> commands with sudo assume that the user actually knows what commands
>>> are needed by the user? In this situation it seems like the whole
>>> reason to grant access to the server was because the user _doesn't_
>>> know what needs to be done.
>>> ~~
>>> Exactly, I don't know what needs to be done, and they don't neither.
>>> That's why they need to browse around trying to figure out why their
>>> installer doesn't work.
>>> Sudo wouldn't be any help here cause I would need to pre approve
>>> commands
>>> and I don't know which one will be needed.
>> You seem to have a mistaken understanding of sudo.  You can grant them
>> access to everything that root has simply by adding their account to
>> the wheel group and using visudo to grant wheel access to everything
>> that root has access to.  You can do this with or without a
>> requirement to type your password when you use sudo.
>> This will allow them to do everything they want while logging every
>> command they type.  And that seems to be exactly what you want.  So,
>> rather than giving them the root password, create an account for them,
>> add it to the wheel group and use visudo to edit
>> /usr/local/etc/sudoers to grant wheel access to everything.  (DO NOT
>> edit the file with vi!)
>> To add the wheel group to a user:
>> pw usermod username -G wheel
>> Granting access to wheel should be self-explanatory:
>> # Uncomment to allow people in group wheel to run all commands
>> %wheel  ALL=(ALL)       ALL
>> # %wheel        ALL=(ALL)       NOPASSWD: ALL
>> That way everything they do is logged, and you don't have to
>> compromise your root password.
> The problem here is that the first command I type in this situation if i
> need to run multiple commands as root it sudo su -
> after that nothing is logged.  I agree with Lowell that watch(8) is
> probably the way to go.
Well sure, but then you have a log entry where the vendor's tech clearly 
tried to circumvent your restrictions.  That's cause for immediate 
revocation of access and escalation of the issue to the vendor.  (Not that 
you shouldn't use watch!)

Paul Schmehl (pauls at
Senior Information Security Analyst
The University of Texas at Dallas

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