Granting SUDO access to a local user account in RHEL/CentOS

It has always been advised that use of ‘root’ account should be limited, as root has access to anything & everything on a Linux system. And also sharing root password to a number of users is clearly a security threat, but use of root’s administrative right might be necessity in some cases. So we can provide some trusted users with sudo access/administrative rights without actually sharing root’s password with them.

After they are given the access, trusted users can then run any command prefixed with ‘sudo’ & will then be prompted for a password. Once authenticated , command is executed as if it has been executed by root account.

There are two things that we do to configure administrative access to users,

  • If having a number of users that require administrative privileges , we can add them all to an already created administrative group named “wheel” ,
  • Or if administrative rights are only needed for a single user, than we can only create any entry for that user.


Administrative access to number of users

Firstly if not already created, add all the users that require sudo/admin access,

$ user add dan

& assign them password,

$ passwd dan

Once all the users have been added, we will now edit /etc/sudoers file. Sudoers file is define policies applied to ‘sudo’. To edit the file, run

$ visudo

This will open the file /etc/sudoers, we now need to find section that contains ‘wheel’ group.

## Allows people in group wheel to run all commands
# %wheel        ALL=(ALL)       ALL

Search for ‘wheel’ & uncomment the line by removing ‘#’ (its commented by default). Save & then exit the file after editing it. Now we will add all our users to group ‘wheel’.

To add a user to group ‘wheel’, run

$ usermod -aG wheel dan

Similarly, add other users as well. Now all the added users have administrative privileges

To check , log in as a local user & run any command with adding sudo before command,

$ su dan
$ sudo systemctl restart network

You will be presented with the following output on the screen, enter the password for user & command will be executed.

We trust you have received the usual lecture from the local System
Administrator. It usually boils down to these three things:
    #1) Respect the privacy of others.
    #2) Think before you type.
    #3) With great power comes great responsibility.
[sudo] password for dan:


Adding only a single user

To add only a single user with administrative rights, open ‘/etc/sudoers’ file & make an entry for the user

$ visudo

& add the following line at the bottom of the file,

dan        ALL=(ALL)       ALL

Save & exit the file. User ‘dan’ now has administrative rights. You can check the user’s right by using the same process as we used above.


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