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I'm able to access the root shell via the following commands:

sudo -i sudo su (after providing the user password) or su (after providing the root password)

What is the difference between them? I notice that a user with root privileges can access the root account!

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If you can successfully su to root it means that you know the password, which means that you are root. If you can sudo -i then you have privileges -- specifically, your account has been added to the adm group, making it an administrator.

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