Apache Web server as a security measure relinquishes its system privileges and runs as a normal unprivileged user before accepting clients over a networks. My Question is

  • How this measure prevents or restrains bugs to be exploited by malware.
  • What is idea behind this approach

Because the context of www-data is a lot less privileged than the one of root. For instance as a root user you can alter a lot more configuration files, add or remove users, read protected folders, etc...

As www-data you cannot do this, so even when exploited the attacker can only use all resources and files available to www-data. This helps contain the attack (obviously privilege escalation cannot be stopped if exploits exist).

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