So I'm still new to GNU/Linux: recently I installed Debian 9.1 with KDE. Now after executing:

stat --format '%a' /etc/sudoers

I found out that my sudoers file has the 640 permissions instead 0440 set. I changed this by running pkexec chmod 0440 /etc/sudoers and inspected the file's contents which seem to be fine.

Now I'd like to know what could have caused these permissions to change and how problematic that is. I only read that this is a security risk.
And what does it mean: does that happen often? How to best prevent these permissions from changing? Continous monitoring of the file's permissions with immediate warnings of any change maybe? Is there a tool for this?

1 Answer 1


As long as the file is owned by root:root, there's no security risk.
And your changes don't even matter.

You specified that root is not allowed to write to the file.

  • If not root, who else...?

  • root can change the permission back

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