System Administration Guide: Security Services

RBAC Roles

A role is a special type of user account from which you can run privileged applications. Roles are created in the same general manner as user accounts. Roles have a home directory, a group assignment, a password, and so on. Rights profiles and authorizations give the role administrative capabilities. Roles cannot inherit capabilities from other roles or other users. Discrete roles parcel out superuser capabilities, and thus enable more secure administrative practices.

When a user assumes a role, the role's attributes replace all user attributes. Role information is stored in the passwd, shadow, and user_attr databases. Role information can be added to the audit_user database. For detailed information on setting up roles, see the following sections:

A role can be assigned to more than one user. All users who can assume the same role have the same role home directory, operate in the same environment, and have access to the same files. Users can assume roles from the command line by running the su command and supplying the role name and password. Users can also assume a role in the Solaris Management Console tool.

A role cannot log in directly. A user logs in, and then assumes a role. Having assumed a role, the user cannot assume another role without first exiting their current role. Having exited the role, the user can then assume another role.

You can prevent anonymous root login by changing the root user into a role, as shown in How to Make root User Into a Role. If the profile shell command, pfexec, is being audited, the audit trail contains the login user's real UID, the roles that the user has assumed, and the actions that the role performed. To audit the system or a particular user for role operations, see How to Audit Roles.

No predefined roles are shipped with Solaris software. However, the rights profiles that ship with the software are designed to map to roles. For example, the Primary Administrator rights profile can be used to create the Primary Administrator role.