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Re: root access and dselect | ftp

On Wed, 25 Feb 1998, David Stern wrote:

> Running an ftp client as root seems to be an exception to the rule 
> about not running as root.

actually that "rule" isn't a general prohibition against doing anything
as root. it is advice about only running as root for system maintainence
tasks. upgrading the system using dselect certainly qualifies as "system

the idea is that by running as a non-priviledged user you can minimise
the risk of problems, and also mimimise the severity of any problems
which occur. "problems" includes buggy software, user mistakes, and
malicious code (e.g. "trojan horse" programs or viruses)

e.g. if you accidentally type "rm -rf /" as root you blow away the whole
system. if you do it as a normal user the worst you can do is erase
your own home directory....and in most cases, will suffer no damage at
all because you will probably have noticed your mistake and hit Ctrl-C
before rm gets to your home dir.

another problem which you avoid by not running as root except when
necessary is the risk of trojans or viruses....malicious programs like
these can't affect your system if they don't have the permissions
required to modify files.


craig sanders

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