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Extending the 'sudo' Timeout

Last updated 2013-07-12 - Send Feedback
Related: how-to, optimization, passphrase, security

This is a technical article. It deliberately does not explain too much.

In Terminal, the 'sudo' command can be a hard requirement for getting things done in some cases. But timeout can be an issue; it’s inconvenient to enter a password frequently.

On my daily machine at home, I am not concerned about a stranger walking up and having access to the computer. Since the timeout for 'sudo' is too short, so I like to increase it to 30 minutes.

env_reset,timestamp_timeout=2

See also

sudo -k // requires password every time; does not create timestamp file
sudo -K // forces password re-entry (deletes timestamp file)

Example sudoers file (/private/etc/sudoers)

Shown below is the sudoers file with a timeout of 30 minutes.

Use 'sudo visudoers' to edit, or with care, plain text editor such as TextWrangler.

# sudoers file.
#
# This file MUST be edited with the 'visudo' command as root.
# Failure to use 'visudo' may result in syntax or file permission errors
# that prevent sudo from running.
#
# See the sudoers man page for the details on how to write a sudoers file.
#
# Host alias specification
# User alias specification
# Cmnd alias specification
# Defaults specification
Defaults	env_reset,timestamp_timeout=30
Defaults	env_keep += "BLOCKSIZE"
Defaults	env_keep += "COLORFGBG COLORTERM"
Defaults	env_keep += "__CF_USER_TEXT_ENCODING"
Defaults	env_keep += "CHARSET LANG LANGUAGE LC_ALL LC_COLLATE LC_CTYPE"
Defaults	env_keep += "LC_MESSAGES LC_MONETARY LC_NUMERIC LC_TIME"
Defaults	env_keep += "LINES COLUMNS"
Defaults	env_keep += "LSCOLORS"
Defaults	env_keep += "SSH_AUTH_SOCK"
Defaults	env_keep += "TZ"
Defaults	env_keep += "DISPLAY XAUTHORIZATION XAUTHORITY"
Defaults	env_keep += "EDITOR VISUAL"
# Runas alias specification
# User privilege specification
root	ALL=(ALL) ALL
%admin	ALL=(ALL) ALL
# Uncomment to allow people in group wheel to run all commands
# %wheel	ALL=(ALL) ALL
# Same thing without a password
# %wheel	ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD: ALL
# Samples
# %users  ALL=/sbin/mount /cdrom,/sbin/umount /cdrom
# %users  localhost=/sbin/shutdown -h now
%admin ALL= NOPASSWD: /sbin/kextload, /sbin/kextunload
%users ALL= NOPASSWD: /sbin/kextload, /sbin/kextunload
ALL ALL= NOPASSWD: /sbin/kextload, /sbin/kextunload
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