Whare are Linux Permissions and how to use them

Created on March 14, 2023 at 4:15 pm

Linux permissions are an essential aspect of securing files and directories in a Linux-based operating system. These permissions dictate the type of access that users have to files and directories and are set for three types of users: the owner of the file, members of the file’s group, and everyone else.

Each file and directory has three types of permissions: read (r), write (w), and execute (x). These permissions determine whether users can read, modify, or execute a file or directory. The permissions can be set to one of three levels of access: full access (rwx), read-only access (r-x), or no access (—).

The basic Linux permissions can be summarized as follows:

Symbol Permission Description
r read Users can read the file or directory.
w write Users can modify or delete the file or directory.
x execute Users can execute the file or access the directory.

In addition to these basic permissions, Linux also has special permissions that can be used to set special attributes for files and directories. These include the setuid bit (s), setgid bit (s), and the sticky bit (t).

The setuid bit (s) allows users to run a program with the permissions of the program’s owner. This is useful when a program needs to perform tasks that require elevated privileges.

The setgid bit (s) sets the group ID for files and directories. When a file or directory with the setgid bit is created, it inherits the group of its parent directory.

The sticky bit (t) is used to ensure that only the owner of a file or directory can delete it. This is useful for directories that are shared among multiple users.

To change the permissions of a file or directory, you can use the chmod command, followed by a three-digit number or a combination of letters and symbols. The three-digit number represents the permissions for the owner, group, and everyone else, in that order. Each digit is the sum of the permissions for read (4), write (2), and execute (1).

For example, the number 755 gives the owner full access, members of the group read and execute access, and everyone else read and execute access. Alternatively, you can use letters and symbols to set the permissions. The letters u, g, and o represent the owner, group, and everyone else, respectively. The symbols +, -, and = represent adding, removing, and setting permissions, respectively.

Here are some examples of how to use Linux permissions to secure your files and directories:

Restricting access to a directory To restrict access to a directory, you can set the permissions to only allow the owner to read, write, and execute the directory. Members of the group and everyone else will have no access to the directory.

$ chmod 700 mydir/

Allowing group members to read and write to a file To allow members of a group to read and write to a file, you can set the group permissions to read and write, while keeping the owner permissions to full access.

$ chmod 640 myfile.txt

Setting the setgid bit for a directory To set the setgid bit for a directory, you can use the following command. This will ensure that any files or directories created in the directory inherit the group of the parent directory.

$ chmod g+s mydir/

As finnal words understanding Linux permissions and how to use them effectively is critical in ensuring that your files and directories are protected from unauthorized access and modification

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