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    How to have root permissions

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    Aina Prat
    @ainaprat

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    What are root permissions

    Before getting to the heart of this guide and explaining, in practice, how to get root permissions, let me give you some more information about the consequences of this operation.

    Basically, having root permissions means authenticate to your operating system with elevated privileges, in such a way as to overcome any security restrictions imposed by the system itself or by the device manufacturer, and to be able to freely modify all those settings that, under "normal" conditions, would remain inaccessible.



    For this reason, unlocking these permissions allows access to otherwise inhibited areas of the system, increasing their degree of action and customization; on the other hand, however, incorrect use of root privileges can lead to unpleasant consequences: for example, an apparently harmless Android app, if run with root permissions, can bring unexpected changes to the system (e.g. installation of spyware, malware or, worse still, ransomware); on the computer, on the other hand, executing an incorrect command in root mode could have the direct consequence of being unable to access the operating system again.

    Let me explain: if, absurdly, you tried to delete a system file with non-root access, Windows or Linux would prevent you from doing so, giving you an access denied error; with the root permissions active, however, you would be able to safely delete that file, without any hitch, then realizing the error when it would be too late.

    For this reason, I urge you to use elevated system privileges wisely and to act only in full awareness of what it may entail. Then don't say I didn't warn you! I will not take any responsibility in this regard.


    How to have root permissions on Android


    If you have a Android and you want to unlock the operating system to get root permissions, I have to give you a not very positive news: unfortunately, in the current state of things, there is no univocal procedure to be able to unlock all devices equipped with the operating system of the green robot.

    The procedures, in fact, may vary not only according to the manufacturer, but also according to the precise model of Android device in their possession; what I mean, in practice, that the procedure for have root permissions on Huawei it might differ greatly from that for getting the same result on a terminal Samsung, Google, Sony, Xiaomi and so on. What I can do, however, is to provide you with some general indications on the steps to take to succeed in the enterprise.

    • Create a data backup: since the device must be subjected to unlocking the bootloader, an operation that involves the total loss of the data in memory, it would be advisable to secure your personal data. In this regard, I recommend that you rely on the tools that I reported to you in my guide to Android backup or my tutorial on how to backup Huawei.
    • Unlock the bootloader: for your information, the bootloader is a small application run immediately after turning on the phone or tablet, capable of verifying the integrity of the operating system and running it. The bootloader is blocked on almost all existing smartphones or tablets, for security reasons but, for the root procedure to be successful, it must be unlocked. The steps required to perform this operation differ from device to device: on Samsung, for example, it is sufficient to enable the development options and activate the lever for OEM release; on Xiaomi, on the other hand, you can request the unlocking of the device through a free PC program; on some Motorola, however, it is necessary to request the unlock code directly to the manufacturer; Pixel or Nexus smartphones, on the other hand, allow unlocking via ADB, by issuing the fastboot flashing unlock command, or the fastboot oem unlock command, if the device was produced prior to 2015. For more detailed information on the operations specifically, on your device, search Google for phrases such as unlock bootloader [device brand and model]. Regardless of the method used, you must be aware that, following the bootloader unlocking procedure, all data on the device will be deleted.
    • Install TWRP recovery: recovery is a software external to Android that allows you to intervene in a profound way on the operating system, carrying out operations such as flashing (i.e. adding functions to the operating system, or replacing it, through a .ZIP file). Unless you are using a device that already has an advanced factory installed recovery (like some Samsungs, for example), you can install TWRP by following the instructions I gave you in my tutorial on how to revert to the previous version of Android .
    • Flash the APK which enables root: once the recovery installation is complete, you have to copy the APK file related to the app you intend to use to obtain the advanced permissions on the operating system in the smartphone memory: the most well-known apps of this type, at the time of writing this guide, I am Magisk e SuperSU. If, on the other hand, you use a Samsung device, you can act using ODIN, a PC program capable of flashing ROMs and apps in .ZIP format, without going through recovery.

    To get more specific information about the steps to take to activate root permissions on your specific device, you can search Google for phrases such as enable root [device brand and model]. Also, I suggest you take a look at my guide on how to root Android, in which I told you about it in more detail.



    Remember, in any case, that unlocking root permissions on Android can be dangerous: do not allow root access to apps of which you do not know exactly the "characteristics" as, by doing so, you would provide full action permissions on the entire operating system.

    How to have root permissions on Linux

    If it is your intention to obtain administrative privileges on distributions Linux, a recommendation must be made: root permissions provide almost uncontrolled access to all parts of the operating system, even the most delicate ones. Therefore, use this mode only if you are well aware of what you are about to do: a single wrong command could compromise the functioning of the entire operating system. I warned you!

    However, to have root permissions on Linux you can act in many ways. For example, if you are interested in running a program in elevated mode directly from the terminal, you can issue in the latter the command sudo nameProgram (e.g. sudo gedit, to open the GNOME text editor with administrative privileges) followed by pressing the key Submit keyboard: following this operation, you will be asked to enter the administrative password of the computer and, after this, the required software will be started with administrative privileges.

    If, on the other hand, you need to issue multiple instructions in sequence, execute the sudo -s command followed by pressing the key Submit and, when prompted, enter the administration password Linux: starting from this moment, all other commands given within the Terminal window will be executed with administrative privileges. When you're done, don't forget to log out of root by typing the exit command.


    How do you say? Would you like to start the graphical interface of your distribution directly in root? Then things are slightly more complex, as this possibility is usually disabled for security reasons. Below I'll explain how to do this on Ubuntu e Kali Linux.


    How to get root permissions on Ubuntu

    have root permissions on Ubuntu directly at login, do this: start the terminal recalling it from the area Applications distribution, type the command sudo passwd root and press the key Submit keyboard, in order to set a password for the Ubuntu root account; when prompted, enter the Password of the user you are logged in with and then enter the one from use for root access, twice in a row. If everything went well, the Terminal will reply to you with the message password updated successfully.

    Now you need to enable user selection root in the Ubuntu login screen; to do this, enter the command sudo passwd -u root, followed by pressing the key Submit of the keyboard, in order to unlock the user; when prompted, enter the Password of the user you are logged in with and press again Submit.

    Next, issue the instruction sudo gedit /etc/gdm3/custom.conf to open Gedit, in order to modify the Ubuntu display manager configuration file. If necessary, enter the Password of your user account and press the button Submit of the keyboard.

    Once in the Gedit window, locate the wording [security], go to the new line and paste the string # AllowRoot = true on the new line; in the end, Save the file by pressing the appropriate button at the top right.

    Now, always from terminal, open the file dedicated to gdm security in editing, issuing the command sudo gedit /etc/pam.d/gdm-password: then locate the words auth required pam_suceed_if.so user! = root quiet success and add the # symbol to ' beginning of the same. You should get something like this.

    #% PAM-1.0
    auth requisite pam_nologin.so
    #auth required pam_succeed_if.so user != root quiet_success

    Save this file too, close it and use the terminal to issue the command sudo gedit /root/.profile: this time, you have to go and edit the string mesg n || true so that it becomes tty -s && mesg n || true, resulting in something like this.

    We finished: save changes to the /root/.profile file, restart your computer and wait for the operating system login screen to appear. To log in as root, click on the entry Not listed?, type root in the field Username, press the button Submit on the keyboard and enter the root password that you created earlier: if everything went smoothly, the Ubuntu desktop should start as root.

    How to have root permissions on Kali Linux

    At first, Kali Linux provided root mode graphical access by default, however this feature was later removed for security reasons. If you need it, though, you can cope with it by installing and configuring the package kali-grant-root.

    To do this, start the terminal of Kali Linux and issue inside it the command sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install kali-grant-root, followed by pressing the key Submit; when prompted, enter the Password of your user account and press the button again Submit of the keyboard.

    At the end of the installation, again from the Terminal, issue the command sudo dpkg-reconfigure kali-linux-grant-root, follow the instructions given to you and restart the computer at the end of the procedure. Following this operation, you will be able to operate with elevated privileges in any part of the operating system, without having to enter the password of the configured user account each time.

    How to have root permissions on iOS / iPadOS

    The procedure that allows you to have root permissions su iOS e iPadOS, by unlocking access to parts otherwise inhibited by the operating system (such as the customization of the interface and behavior of iOS / iPadOS and the installation of tweaks to the system, just to name a couple), is called jailbreak.

    To do this, you will first need a computer equipped with Windows 10 (on which iTunes is present) or a Mac, through which to install a free program, called altServer, which allows you to get an unofficial app store on iPhone (it's called AltStore). The latter will then be used to install the actual app used to apply the jailbreak on the device: unc0ver.

    However, I feel compelled to inform you of the contraindications accompanying the unlocking procedure: firstly, performing the latter voids the warranty of the iPhone and iPad, unless you remove the jailbreak before bringing the device to service (which, in case of serious failures , it may be impossible); furthermore, unlocking administrative permissions on iOS / iPadOS exposes the device to security risks and sometimes inhibits some streaming apps from running, such as that of Sky Go.

    If you are well aware of the risks and you intend to proceed anyway, then carefully read my guide on how to jailbreak the iPhone, in which I have indicated, in detail, all the steps to be taken to succeed in the enterprise.

    How to have root permissions on Windows

    A computer is available Windows and you want to find out how to have root permissions, all you need to do is activate the account Administrator, which allows you to do just about anything without any locks or security messages.

    In order to enable the Administrator account on Windows, right click on the button Home located at the bottom left, select the item Windows PowerShell (administrator) from the context menu that is proposed to you and click on the button Yes, to open the PowerShell screen.

    Now, type the command net user administrator active: yes in the window that opens and press the key Submit keypad, to enable the Super Administrator account. If everything went well, you should get the sentence as an answer Command operation successful: The account will then be active the next time the computer is restarted.

    If you intend to keep the profile for a long time, I also recommend that you set a password to protect it, as, as already mentioned, the Super administrator account offers full access to the computer (and does not show security warnings even for more operations " delicate "): to do this, still within the PowerShell window, type the command net user administrator NuovaPassword followed by pressing the key Submit, then replacing NuovaPassword with the password you want to use to access the profile.

    To get more information about the procedure just described, I invite you to read my guide on how to become an administrator on Windows 10, in which I have treated the subject in great detail.

    How to have root permissions on macOS

    The speech to be made for MacOS it is quite similar to what we saw for Windows: the operating system supports access with elevated privileges, but this function is disabled by default for security reasons.

    To enable it, open the System preference clicking on the d-shaped icongear placed on the Dock, click on the icon related to Users and groups and enable the changes by clicking on the symbol padlock at the bottom left. When prompted, enter the Password Mac in the window that appears on the screen.

    At this point, clicca sulla voce Login options located in the left sidebar, press the buttons Login ... e Apri Utility Directory…, then click on padlock resident in the lower left and re-enter the Password from the Mac.

    We are almost there: at this point, go to the menu Modification posto in alto, selects the voice Enable root user and enter the Password to access the administrative account in the boxes attached to the screen that appears immediately after.

    When you are done, click on the button OK and that's it: the macOS root account will be active at the next login and can be called up by clicking on the item Other… located on the login screen and typing the username when prompted root together with the previously set password.

    How to have root permissions

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