Give a specific user permissions to a device without giving access to other users

I have a card reader attached on /dev/sdb.

What I do is giving all permissions to owner, group and the rest of the world, using:

sudo chmod 777 /dev/sdb

Can I just use another combination, allowing only the owner (me) to use the card reader?

There is only one user account.

Asked By: Mohamed Ahmed

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There are multiple ways of accomplishing this.

1. Add your user to the group that owns the device

Generally in most distros, block devices are owned by a specific group. All you need to do is add your user to that group.

For example, on my system:

# ls -l /dev/sdb
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 8, 16 2014/07/07-21:32:25 /dev/sdb

Thus I need to add my user to the disk group.

# usermod -a -G disk patrick

 

2. Change the permissions of the device

The idea is to create a udev rule to run a command when the device is detected.

First you need to find a way to identify the device. You use udevadm for this. For example:

# udevadm info -a -n /dev/sdb

Udevadm info starts with the device specified by the devpath and then
walks up the chain of parent devices. It prints for every device
found, all possible attributes in the udev rules key format.
A rule to match, can be composed by the attributes of the device
and the attributes from one single parent device.

  looking at device '/devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1d.0/usb1/1-1/1-1.3/1-1.3:1.0/host6/target6:0:0/6:0:0:0/block/sdb':
    KERNEL=="sdb"
    SUBSYSTEM=="block"
    DRIVER==""
    ATTR{ro}=="0"
    ATTR{size}=="31116288"
    ATTR{stat}=="     279      219     3984     1182        0        0        0        0        0      391     1182"
    ATTR{range}=="16"
    ATTR{discard_alignment}=="0"
    ATTR{events}=="media_change"
    ATTR{ext_range}=="256"
    ATTR{events_poll_msecs}=="-1"
    ATTR{alignment_offset}=="0"
    ATTR{inflight}=="       0        0"
    ATTR{removable}=="1"
    ATTR{capability}=="51"
    ATTR{events_async}==""

  looking at parent device '/devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1d.0/usb1/1-1/1-1.3/1-1.3:1.0/host6/target6:0:0/6:0:0:0':
    KERNELS=="6:0:0:0"
    SUBSYSTEMS=="scsi"
    DRIVERS=="sd"
    ATTRS{rev}=="0207"
    ATTRS{type}=="0"
    ATTRS{scsi_level}=="0"
    ATTRS{model}=="STORAGE DEVICE  "
    ATTRS{state}=="running"
    ATTRS{queue_type}=="none"
    ATTRS{iodone_cnt}=="0x184"
    ATTRS{iorequest_cnt}=="0x184"
    ATTRS{device_busy}=="0"
    ATTRS{evt_capacity_change_reported}=="0"
    ATTRS{timeout}=="30"
    ATTRS{evt_media_change}=="0"
    ATTRS{max_sectors}=="240"
    ATTRS{ioerr_cnt}=="0x2"
    ATTRS{queue_depth}=="1"
    ATTRS{vendor}=="Generic "
    ATTRS{evt_soft_threshold_reached}=="0"
    ATTRS{device_blocked}=="0"
    ATTRS{evt_mode_parameter_change_reported}=="0"
    ATTRS{evt_lun_change_reported}=="0"
    ATTRS{evt_inquiry_change_reported}=="0"
    ATTRS{iocounterbits}=="32"
    ATTRS{eh_timeout}=="10"

  looking at parent device '/devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1d.0/usb1/1-1/1-1.3/1-1.3:1.0/host6/target6:0:0':
    KERNELS=="target6:0:0"
    SUBSYSTEMS=="scsi"
    DRIVERS==""

  looking at parent device '/devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1d.0/usb1/1-1/1-1.3/1-1.3:1.0/host6':
    KERNELS=="host6"
    SUBSYSTEMS=="scsi"
    DRIVERS==""

  looking at parent device '/devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1d.0/usb1/1-1/1-1.3/1-1.3:1.0':
    KERNELS=="1-1.3:1.0"
    SUBSYSTEMS=="usb"
    DRIVERS=="usb-storage"
    ATTRS{bInterfaceClass}=="08"
    ATTRS{bInterfaceSubClass}=="06"
    ATTRS{bInterfaceProtocol}=="50"
    ATTRS{bNumEndpoints}=="02"
    ATTRS{supports_autosuspend}=="1"
    ATTRS{bAlternateSetting}==" 0"
    ATTRS{bInterfaceNumber}=="00"

  looking at parent device '/devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1d.0/usb1/1-1/1-1.3':
    KERNELS=="1-1.3"
    SUBSYSTEMS=="usb"
    DRIVERS=="usb"
    ATTRS{bDeviceSubClass}=="00"
    ATTRS{bDeviceProtocol}=="00"
    ATTRS{devpath}=="1.3"
    ATTRS{idVendor}=="05e3"
    ATTRS{speed}=="480"
    ATTRS{bNumInterfaces}==" 1"
    ATTRS{bConfigurationValue}=="1"
    ATTRS{bMaxPacketSize0}=="64"
    ATTRS{busnum}=="1"
    ATTRS{devnum}=="5"
    ATTRS{configuration}==""
    ATTRS{bMaxPower}=="500mA"
    ATTRS{authorized}=="1"
    ATTRS{bmAttributes}=="80"
    ATTRS{bNumConfigurations}=="1"
    ATTRS{maxchild}=="0"
    ATTRS{bcdDevice}=="0207"
    ATTRS{avoid_reset_quirk}=="0"
    ATTRS{quirks}=="0x0"
    ATTRS{serial}=="000000000207"
    ATTRS{version}==" 2.00"
    ATTRS{urbnum}=="1115"
    ATTRS{ltm_capable}=="no"
    ATTRS{manufacturer}=="Generic"
    ATTRS{removable}=="unknown"
    ATTRS{idProduct}=="0727"
    ATTRS{bDeviceClass}=="00"
    ATTRS{product}=="USB Storage"

  looking at parent device '/devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1d.0/usb1/1-1':
    KERNELS=="1-1"
    SUBSYSTEMS=="usb"
    DRIVERS=="usb"
    ATTRS{bDeviceSubClass}=="00"
    ATTRS{bDeviceProtocol}=="01"
    ATTRS{devpath}=="1"
    ATTRS{idVendor}=="8087"
    ATTRS{speed}=="480"
    ATTRS{bNumInterfaces}==" 1"
    ATTRS{bConfigurationValue}=="1"
    ATTRS{bMaxPacketSize0}=="64"
    ATTRS{busnum}=="1"
    ATTRS{devnum}=="2"
    ATTRS{configuration}==""
    ATTRS{bMaxPower}=="0mA"
    ATTRS{authorized}=="1"
    ATTRS{bmAttributes}=="e0"
    ATTRS{bNumConfigurations}=="1"
    ATTRS{maxchild}=="6"
    ATTRS{bcdDevice}=="0000"
    ATTRS{avoid_reset_quirk}=="0"
    ATTRS{quirks}=="0x0"
    ATTRS{version}==" 2.00"
    ATTRS{urbnum}=="61"
    ATTRS{ltm_capable}=="no"
    ATTRS{removable}=="unknown"
    ATTRS{idProduct}=="0024"
    ATTRS{bDeviceClass}=="09"

  looking at parent device '/devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1d.0/usb1':
    KERNELS=="usb1"
    SUBSYSTEMS=="usb"
    DRIVERS=="usb"
    ATTRS{bDeviceSubClass}=="00"
    ATTRS{bDeviceProtocol}=="00"
    ATTRS{devpath}=="0"
    ATTRS{idVendor}=="1d6b"
    ATTRS{speed}=="480"
    ATTRS{bNumInterfaces}==" 1"
    ATTRS{bConfigurationValue}=="1"
    ATTRS{bMaxPacketSize0}=="64"
    ATTRS{authorized_default}=="1"
    ATTRS{busnum}=="1"
    ATTRS{devnum}=="1"
    ATTRS{configuration}==""
    ATTRS{bMaxPower}=="0mA"
    ATTRS{authorized}=="1"
    ATTRS{bmAttributes}=="e0"
    ATTRS{bNumConfigurations}=="1"
    ATTRS{maxchild}=="3"
    ATTRS{bcdDevice}=="0313"
    ATTRS{avoid_reset_quirk}=="0"
    ATTRS{quirks}=="0x0"
    ATTRS{serial}=="0000:00:1d.0"
    ATTRS{version}==" 2.00"
    ATTRS{urbnum}=="26"
    ATTRS{ltm_capable}=="no"
    ATTRS{manufacturer}=="Linux 3.13.6-gentoo ehci_hcd"
    ATTRS{removable}=="unknown"
    ATTRS{idProduct}=="0002"
    ATTRS{bDeviceClass}=="09"
    ATTRS{product}=="EHCI Host Controller"

  looking at parent device '/devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1d.0':
    KERNELS=="0000:00:1d.0"
    SUBSYSTEMS=="pci"
    DRIVERS=="ehci-pci"
    ATTRS{irq}=="23"
    ATTRS{subsystem_vendor}=="0x144d"
    ATTRS{broken_parity_status}=="0"
    ATTRS{class}=="0x0c0320"
    ATTRS{companion}==""
    ATTRS{enabled}=="1"
    ATTRS{consistent_dma_mask_bits}=="32"
    ATTRS{dma_mask_bits}=="32"
    ATTRS{local_cpus}=="0f"
    ATTRS{device}=="0x1e26"
    ATTRS{uframe_periodic_max}=="100"
    ATTRS{msi_bus}==""
    ATTRS{local_cpulist}=="0-3"
    ATTRS{vendor}=="0x8086"
    ATTRS{subsystem_device}=="0xc0d3"
    ATTRS{numa_node}=="-1"
    ATTRS{d3cold_allowed}=="1"

  looking at parent device '/devices/pci0000:00':
    KERNELS=="pci0000:00"
    SUBSYSTEMS==""
    DRIVERS==""

Then create a new file in /etc/udev/rules.d, such as 99-cardreader.rules:

SUBSYSTEM=="block", ATTRS{idProduct}=="0727", ATTRS{serial}=="000000000207", ACTION=="add", RUN+="/bin/chmod 777 /dev/$name"

Here I used the output from the udevadm info command to find some identifying information for the device. I used the SUBSYSTEM="block" entry for the very first entry, and then the ATTRS values from the 6th entry. This will basically find the USB device with that product & serial number, and then find the block device that results from that USB device.

The RUN command will change the permissions on the device to 777. However I don’t consider this a very good solution as this opens the device up to the world. Instead a better solution might be:

SUBSYSTEM=="block", ATTRS{idProduct}=="0727", ATTRS{serial}=="000000000207", ACTION=="add", RUN+="/bin/setfacl -m u:patrick:rw- /dev/$name"

This will grant the user patrick read/write access to the device.

Note: It is important to remember that when writing udev rules, you can only use parameters from the top device, and one other device in the chain. Thus I can use the SUBSYSTEM="block" parameter, and the ATTRS parameters. But I could not use any parameters from any other device in the chain, or the rule would fail to match.

Answered By: phemmer
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