Linux Security: Access Rights and Permissions for Files and Directories

1. Introduction

The Linux security model is based on the one used on UNIX operating systems. On a Linux system, every file is owned by a user and a group user. There is also a third category of users, those that are not the user owner and don't belong to the group owning the file.  For each category of users, read, write and execute permissions can be granted or denied.

The file permissions for these three user categories are indicated by the nine characters that follow the first character, which is the file type indicator at the beginning of the file properties line. The first three characters in this series of nine display access rights for the actual user that owns the file. The next three are for the group owner of the file, the last three for other users.

The permissions are always in the same order: read, write, execute for the user, the group and the others.

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