Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Disable Sudo password prompts on Ubuntu

A simple trick to disable the sudo password prompts on Ubuntu (I have tested this on Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala). A word of caution, be aware that by doing this you are sacrificing the security that sudo provides.

You basically need to edit the /etc/sudoers file. This file cannot be changed by any user. You need to sign in as root and then use the visudo command to start editing the file.

user@machine:~$ sudo su
[sudo] password for user:
root@machine:/home/user# visudo

In this file, right at the bottom you will find a line:
%admin ALL=(ALL) ALL

Replace it with:

This will disable the requirement to enter the password every time you run a sudo command. Save and close (ESC, :wq, ENTER)

So you can now run a command like sudo reboot without having to enter the password:

user@machine:~$ sudo reboot

Broadcast message from user@machine
(/dev/pts/0) at 11:17 ...

The system is going down for reboot NOW!

Again, be careful and know what you are doing. Also, it might be a good idea to make a copy of your /etc/sudoers file before your make any changes to it.

One way to use this trick could be in a scenario where you want to run a sudo command through a script and do not want to use the -S option of sudo (-S option allows you to provide the password from the script itself; this can be dangerous if someone gets access to your script)