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(also root user, administrator)

Superuser definition

A superuser, also called a root user or administrator, is a special user account used for system administration. In operating systems like Linux or Unix, the superuser has administrative rights, permissions, and access to all files and commands. The superuser can read, write, and modify any file in the system and install and uninstall software.

See also: two-factor authentication, end-to-end encryption, password vault

Superuser examples

  • System administration: Superusers can perform tasks that regular users cannot, such as system maintenance tasks, including the installation and updating of software, the management of user accounts, and system monitoring.
  • Rooting: In the context of Android devices, gaining superuser privileges is often called “rooting.” It allows the user to change system settings and install apps that require administrative permissions.

Advantages and disadvantages of superusers


  • Complete control: Superusers have unrestricted access to the system, providing complete control over it.
  • Flexibility: Being a superuser allows the installation and uninstalling of any software, regardless of system restrictions.


  • Security risk: If a superuser account gets compromised, the whole system is at risk because the attacker can do anything they want.
  • Potential damage: A small mistake made with superuser privileges can result in significant damage to the system.

Using superusers

  • Be careful: The power of a superuser is substantial, so use it wisely. An inadvertent error can cause irreparable damage.
  • Use a strong password: To protect your superuser account, use a strong, unique password.
  • Use “sudo”: For Linux or Unix, instead of logging in as a superuser, use the “sudo” command to temporarily grant superuser privileges.

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