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FreeBSD can't 'su'

Posted on 2001-07-04
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Last Modified: 2009-12-16
Hi,
I've been learning FreeBSD by starting with a minimal installation and working my way up to a fully configured badass workstation! But I'm forced to use my root account way too much because when I try to 'su' I get the message "You are not in the correct group to su root". What group do I have to be in?! I've looked over the files /etc/passwd /etc/master.passwd /etc/group and /etc/login.conf and made sure that everything was kosher but I can't seem to figure it out.
I have been reading the UNIX system administration handbook and I haven't found anything relevant in there yet.
Thanks for any help,
Chip
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Question by:crash020297
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3 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:jlhch
ID: 6253688
I think you should be in the group `wheel'.
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Author Comment

by:crash020297
ID: 6253861
well, ok. I just wasn't sure if that raised some sort of security issue. Will that present some kind of risk?
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Accepted Solution

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jlevie earned 400 total points
ID: 6255743
As a security measure FreeBSD requires each user that is to have su privs to be a member of the wheel group. Since you already have the root password there isn't an additional risk imposed by making your account a member of the wheel group and it is a normal and correct thing to do. I believe the intent of restricting su access to members of the wheel group is to prevent folks for trying to guess a password for root by repeated su attempts. It also will prevent the ordinary user from being able to change to some other account, thus improving accoutability. To be able to invoke su, simply edit /etc/group and add your login name to the wheel group, like:

wheel:*:0:root,jlevie
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