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Wednesday, 11 March 2015

How to make sudo/UAC more convenient without disabling it entirely

Marc Chouinard - StockSnap.io

Ever get tired of those pesky prompts? They're actually there for a reason, to isolate most apps that do not need admin privileges from messing up your system. It does help with security, especially when using a limited user account. Here I will be explaining how to make those prompts disappear one way or another, while still keeping your security in check. I will cover all of the operating systems I own except for iOS, which do not have any prompts even when jailbroken.
  1. Windows: Here is where the most got annoyed, especially since it was introduced when people were used to being all-powerful with no limitations (when few should be). I do not recommend disabling UAC altogether, because it gets rid of Internet Explorer Protected Mode, user-privilege isolation of apps, registry virtualization, and all the hard work Microsoft had to enforce for developers to stop coding apps that require admin privileges when not necessary. What you can do is to disable the prompts for your admin account, while still keeping it enabled for you to enter the password for standard users when necessary (otherwise they can't run admin apps). It's called Admin Approval Mode. There are actually other things you can do such as disabling admin execution of unsigned apps and more, all of which you can read here: http://www.askvg.com/a-complete-guide-for-tweaking-user-account-control-uac-in-windows-vista/
  2. OS X: By default, OS X has something similar to UAC called sudo. Since this OS was made with it in mind, you see prompts less than in Windows. But you do need to enter your password for those, much like a standard user. The alternative is using a root account, but I wouldn't recommend that because it's very similar to disabling UAC altogether. Yet how is that less annoying, even with less apps that asks for such permissions? Maybe it has to do with the fact that you don't need to enter your password for 5 minutes after entering it once. You can actually extend that time to an infinite amount until reboot, making things more convenient: http://apple.stackexchange.com/questions/10139/how-do-i-increase-sudo-password-remember-timeout
  3. Ubuntu: Pretty much the same as OS X, except the default timeout is 15 minutes. To extend: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/RootSudoTimeout
  4. Chrome OS: By default, there is no password for sudo. Therefore no need to change anything since you need a password to even access your account in the first place. But if you were like paranoid old me, and actually added a password, here's how to change it back (although it'll ask for a blank password from now on instead of just continuing): sudo chromeos-setdevpasswd
  5. Android: By default, there's a remember checkbox for Android superuser requests. So why do I even need to write anything? That's because on app re-installs and upgrades, you're prompted again. And for some apps that run in the background, there may not even be a prompt! So, if you update apps frequently, I would go to: SuperSU > Settings > Uncheck Re-authentication.
And there you have it, less headaches without sacrificing too much security! Hasta la vista, baby!

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