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man pages section 1: User Commands

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Updated: Wednesday, January 24, 2018



ppriv - inspect or modify process privilege sets and attributes


/usr/bin/ppriv -e [-f {
+-}{ADKMPRSTUX}] [-s spec] [-r rule] command [arg]...
/usr/bin/ppriv [-vn] [ -f {+-}{ADKMPRSTUX}] [-S] [-s spec] 
[-r rule][pid | core]...
/usr/bin/ppriv -l [-vn] [
privilege-specification | extended-policy]...
/usr/bin/ppriv -q [-f 


The first invocation of the ppriv command runs the command specified with the privilege sets and flags modified according to the arguments on the command line.

The second invocation examines or changes the privilege state of running process and core files.

The third invocation lists the privileges defined and information about specified privileges or privileges set specifications.


The following options are supported:


Obsolete. Same as –f +D.


Interprets the remainder of the arguments as a command line and runs the command line with specified privilege attributes and sets.

–f {+-} {ADKMPRSTUX}

To set or unset the process flags, the processes, or the command supplied. For more information, see the setpflags(2) man page.















Warning: Unsetting this flag can expose potentially sensitive data to other processes with proc_owner privilege, regardless of ownership








Lists all currently defined privileges on stdout.


Obsolete. Same as –f +M.


Shows port numbers and users as numbers. Normally, ppriv shows port numbers and users as symbols. This option is only applicable when displaying Extended Policies.


Obsolete. Same as –f –D.

–s spec

Modifies a process's privilege sets according to spec, a specification with the format [AEILP][+-=] privsetspec, containing no spaces, where:


Indicates one or more letters indicating which privilege sets to change. These are case insensitive, for example, either a or A indicates all privilege sets.

For definitions of the single letter abbreviations for privilege sets, see privileges(7).


Indicates a modifier to respectively add (+), remove (-), or assign (=) the listed privileges to the specified set(s) in privsetspec.


Indicates a comma-separated privilege set specification (priv1,priv2, and so on), as described in priv_str_to_set(3C).

Modifying the same set with multiple –s options is possible as long as there is either precisely one assignment to an individual set or any number of additions and removals. That is, assignment and addition or removal for one set are mutually exclusive.


Tests whether privileges are in the effective set and whether flags are set or non-set. The programs exists successfully when all tests are fulfilled.

–r rule

Install an Extended Policy. For more information, see the privileges(7) man page.

Multiple rules can be specified. The new rules are added to the existing policy. To replace an existing policy, first remove it with –X, and then add the new policy with –r.


Short. Reports the shortest possible output strings for sets. The default is portable output. For more information, see the priv_str_to_set(3C) man page.


Obsolete. Same as –f –X.


Verbose. Reports privilege sets using privilege names.


The ppriv utility examines processes and core files and prints or changes their privilege sets.

ppriv can run commands with privilege debugging on or off or with fewer privileges than the invoking process.

When executing a sub process, the only sets that can be modified are L and I. Privileges can only be removed from L and I as ppriv starts with P=E=I.

ppriv can also be used to remove privileges from processes or to convey privileges to other processes. In order to control a process, the effective set of the ppriv utility must be a super set of the controlled process's E, I, and P. The utility's limit set must be a super set of the target's limit set. If the target's process uids do not match, the {PRIV_PROC_OWNER} privilege must be asserted in the utility's effective set. If the controlled processes have any uid with the value 0, more restrictions might exist. For more information, see the privileges(7) man page.


Example 1 Obtaining the Process Privileges of the Current Shell

The following example obtains the process privileges of the current shell:

example$ ppriv $$
387:   -sh
flags = <none>
         E: basic
         I: basic
         P: basic
         L: all
Example 2 Removing a Privilege From Your Shell's Inheritable and Effective Set

The following example removes a privilege from your shell's inheritable and effective set.

example$ ppriv -s EI-proc_session $$ 

The subprocess can still inspect the parent shell but it can no longer influence the parent because the parent has more privileges in its Permitted set than the ppriv child process:

example$ truss -p $$
truss: permission denied: 387

example$ ppriv $$
387:   -sh
flags = <none>
         E: basic,!proc_session
         I: basic,!proc_session
         P: basic
         L: all
Example 3 Running a Process with Privilege Debugging

The following example runs a process with privilege debugging:

example$ ppriv -e -f +D cat /etc/shadow
cat[418]: missing privilege “file_dac_read” (euid = 21782),
                    needed at ufs_access+0x3c
cat: cannot open /etc/shadow

The privilege debugging error messages are sent to the controlling terminal of the current process. The needed at address specification is an artifact of the kernel implementation and it can be changed at any time after a software update.

The system call number can be mapped to a system call using /etc/name_to_sysnum .

Example 4 Listing the Privileges Available in the Current Zone

The following example lists the privileges available in the current zone (see zones(7)). When run in the global zone, all defined privileges are listed.

example$ ppriv -l zone
 ... listing of all privileges elided ...
Example 5 Examining a Privilege Aware Process

The following example examines a privilege aware process:

example$ ppriv -S ‘pgrep rpcbind‘

928:    /usr/sbin/rpcbind
flags = PRIV_AWARE
        E: net_privaddr,proc_fork,sys_nfs
        I: none
        P: net_privaddr,proc_fork,sys_nfs
        L: none

See setpflags(2) for explanations of the flags.

Example 6 Running a Process Under an Extended Policy

The following example runs a process under an extended policy:

example$ ppriv -r '{file_write}:/home/casper/.mozilla/*' \
           -r '{file_write}:/tmp/*,{proc_exec}:/usr/*' -e firefox

See privileges(7).

Example 7 Examining a Process that Has been Started

The following example examines the process that was started in example 6:

example$ ppriv 101272
101272: /usr/lib/firefox/firefox-bin
Extended policies:
E: basic,!file_write,!proc_exec
I: basic,!file_write,!proc_exec
P: basic,!file_write,!proc_exec
L: all

Example 8 Testing for Flags and Privileges

The following example tests for flags and privileges:

example$ if ppriv -q -f +D file_read; then
                echo Privilege debugging is enabled
                echo and file_read privilege detected

Exit Status

The following exit values are returned:


Successful operation.


An error has occurred.



Process files


system call name to number mapping


See attributes(7) for descriptions of the following attributes:

Interface Stability
See below

The invocation is Committed. The output is Uncommitted.

See Also

gcore(1), truss(1), setpflags(2), priv_str_to_set(3C), proc(5), attributes(7), privileges(7), tpd(7), zones(7)