System Administration Guide: Security Services

How Processes Get Privileges

Processes can inherit privileges. Or, processes can be assigned privileges. A process inherits privileges from its parent process. At login, the user's initial inheritable set of privileges determines what privileges are available to the user's processes. All child processes of the user's initial login inherit that set.

You can also directly assign privileges to programs, users, and roles. When a program requires privileges, you assign the privileges to the program's executable in a rights profile. Users or roles that are permitted to run the program are assigned the profile that includes the program. At login or when a profile shell is entered, the program runs with privilege when the program's executable is typed in the profile shell. For example, a role that includes the Object Access Management profile is able to run the chmod command with the file_chown privilege.

When a role or user runs a program that has been directly assigned an additional privilege, the assigned privilege is added to the role or user's inheritable set. Child processes of the program that was assigned privileges inherit the privileges of the parent. If the child process requires more privileges than the parent process, the child process must be directly assigned those privileges.

Programs that are coded to use privileges are called privilege-aware programs. A privilege-aware program turns on the use of privilege and turns off the use of privilege during program execution. To succeed in a production environment, the program must be assigned the privileges that the program turns on and off.

For examples of privilege-aware code, see Chapter 2, Developing Privileged Applications, in Solaris Security for Developers Guide. To assign privileges to a program that requires privileges, see How to Add Privileges to a Command.