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Securing Systems and Attached Devices in Oracle® Solaris 11.4

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Updated: July 2019

Systems and Devices Glossary

These glossary entries cover words that can be ambiguous because they are used differently in different parts of the operating system, or have meanings in Oracle Solaris that are distinct from other operating systems.

device allocation

Device protection for your systems at the user level. Device allocation enforces the exclusive use of a device by one user at a time. Device data is purged before device reuse. Authorizations can be used to limit who is permitted to allocate a device.

device policy

Device protection for your systems at the kernel level. Device policy is implemented as two sets of privileges on a device. One set of privileges controls read access to the device. The second set of privileges controls write access to the device. See also policy.

least privilege

A security model which gives a specified process only a subset of superuser powers. The least privilege model assigns enough privilege to regular users that they can perform personal administrative tasks, such as mount file systems and change the ownership of files. On the other hand, processes run with just those privileges that they need to complete the task, rather than with the full power of superuser, that is, all privileges. Damage due to programming errors like buffer overflows can be contained to a non-root user, which has no access to critical abilities like reading or writing protected system files or halting the system.

password policy

The encryption algorithms that can be used to generate passwords. Can also refer to more general issues around passwords, such as how often the passwords must be changed, how many password attempts are permitted, and other security considerations. Security policy requires passwords. Password policy might require passwords to be encrypted with the AES algorithm, and might make further requirements related to password strength.


Generally, a plan or course of action that influences or determines decisions and actions. For computer systems, policy typically means security policy. Your site's security policy is the set of rules that define the sensitivity of the information that is being processed and the measures that are used to protect the information from unauthorized access. For example, security policy might require that systems be audited, that system devices must be allocated for use, and that passwords be changed every six weeks.

For the implementation of policy in specific areas of the Oracle Solaris OS, see device policy and password policy.


1. In general, a power or capability to perform an operation on a computer system that is beyond the powers of a regular user. Superuser privileges are all the rights that superuser is granted. A privileged user or privileged application is a user or application that has been granted additional rights.

2. A discrete right on a process in an Oracle Solaris system. Privileges offer a finer-grained control of processes than does root. Privileges are defined and enforced in the kernel. Privileges are also called process privileges or kernel privileges. For a full description of privileges, see the privileges(7) man page.

privilege model

A stricter model of security on a computer system than the superuser model. In the privilege model, processes require privilege to run. Administration of the system can be divided into discrete parts that are based on the privileges that administrators have in their processes. Privileges can be assigned to an administrator's login process. Or, privileges can be assigned to be in effect for certain commands only.


An alternative to the all-or-nothing superuser model. User rights management and process rights management enable an organization to divide up superuser's privileges and assign them to users or roles. Rights in Oracle Solaris are implemented as kernel privileges, authorizations, and the ability to run a process as a specific UID or GID. Rights can be collected in a rights profile.

rights profile

Also referred to as a profile. A collection of security overrides that can be assigned to a role or user. A rights profile can include authorizations, privileges, commands with security attributes, and other rights profiles that are called supplementary profiles.

Secure Shell

A special protocol for secure remote login and other secure network services over an insecure network.

security attributes

Overrides to security policy that enable an administrative command to succeed when the command is run by a user other than superuser. In the superuser model, the setuid root and setgid programs are security attributes. When these attributes are applied to a command, the command succeeds no matter who runs the command. In the privilege model, kernel privileges and other rights replace setuid root programs as security attributes. The privilege model is compatible with the superuser model, in that the privilege model also recognizes the setuid and setgid programs as security attributes.

security policy

See policy.

superuser model

The typical UNIX model of security on a computer system. In the superuser model, an administrator has all-or-nothing control of the system. Typically, to administer the system, a user becomes superuser (root) and can do all administrative activities.

trusted users

Users whom you have decided can perform administrative tasks at some level of trust. Typically, administrators create logins for trusted users first and assign administrative rights that match the users' level of trust and ability. These users then help configure and maintain the system. Also called privileged users.