So I'm the only the user of my computer, and I eventually figured out how to enable the "su" user on my account with a password (really quite simple actually), just in case I ever needed to do something where I would keep having to authenticate permission.

I have no fear of hackers because I'm such a discrete/boring internet user, but I was curious if enabling my su would make my computer more vulnerable to cyber attacks, or what your concerns would be if your computer contained more sensitive information or you had more of a reason to be paranoid.

Or do the Ubuntu makers just try to stop you from making a su account just to keep you from screwing up your computer?


I have no fear of hackers because I'm such a discrete/boring internet user

welcome to the botnet. ;)

Having limited privileges while using the system is a part of the security concept implemented with access rights. If some part of software is overtaken e.g. by using a buffer overflow, the attacker will have the privileges of the process he overtook. So having limited privileges is better.


Yes, it is a security risk

When you are using a root user, all the applications run with root privileges too. There are not that many viruses for Linux OS (at least compared to Windows), but every single vulnerability in apps now pose a bigger risk than with limited privileges. In the worst case scenario, those vulnerabilities may result in destruction of your system/personal stuff (erasing system files, your data files etc). Bugs and vulnerabilities may appear in any app, such as Firefox that you may use to browse the Internet.

What is more, it is easy to make harm on your computer as a root. The person doesn't have to be a newbie to Linux, due to the fact that we are just humans, a little mistyping of commands may have severe aftermath. Since root doesn't need to type password, you are basically one command away from destruction..

I would recommend using sudo commandinstead of switching to root when running administrative tasks occasionally.

Here's another post in this forum related to this subject (see the link below)

Why is it bad to login as root?

  • not only are there security implications, but as pointed out here user error when using elevated account can be a major problem – amc Jul 5 '16 at 22:03
  • well it is password protected, i was just wondering if having that su account available to use poses a threat to my computer. ill edit it in a minute – thinksinbinary Jul 5 '16 at 22:51
  • Well yes, it is password protected and I get what you are saying. Just the fact that you can access root on your own system doesn't itself pose a threat. It is user dependent, the way one decides to use given privileges. – jiipeezz Jul 6 '16 at 6:33

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