We will be referring to permissions to the ability of a user to access and perform changes on the relevant parts of the host’s filesystem, starting/stopping services and installing software.
By privileges, we refer to the abilities of a database user to perform different kinds of actions on the database server.
There are many ways for checking the permission on a file or directory. For
ls -ls /path/to/file or
stat /path/to/file | grep Access will
do the job:
$ stat /etc/mysql | grep Access
Access: (0755/drwxr-xr-x) Uid: ( 0/ root) Gid: ( 0/ root) Access: 2011-05-12 21:19:07.129850437 -0300 $ ls -ld /etc/mysql/my.cnf -rw-r--r-- 1 root root 4703 Apr 5 06:26 /etc/mysql/my.cnf
As in this example,
my.cnf is owned by
root and not writable for anyone
else. Assuming that you do not have
root‘s password, you can check what
permissions you have on these types of files with
$ sudo -l
Password: You may run the following commands on this host: (root) /usr/bin/ (root) NOPASSWD: /etc/init.d/mysqld (root) NOPASSWD: /bin/vi /etc/mysql/my.cnf (root) NOPASSWD: /usr/local/bin/top (root) NOPASSWD: /usr/bin/ls (root) /bin/tail
Being able to execute with
sudo scripts in
/sbin/service is the ability to start and stop services.
Also, If you can execute the package manager of your distribution, you can
install or remove software with it. If not, having
rwx permission over a
directory will let you do a local installation of software by compiling it
there. This is a typical situation in many hosting companies’ services.
There are other ways for managing permissions, such as using PolicyKit, * Extended ACLs or SELinux*, which may be preventing or allowing your access. You should check them in that case.