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(DAY 251) Cautionary Tale of Corrupting Chmod and Sudo

· 2 min read
Gaurav Parashar

Have you ever had one of those late-night encounters with a Linux server that left you regretting every keystroke? I certainly have, and it all revolved around a seemingly harmless command, 'chmod,' and some perilous 'sudo' access.

The Power of Chmod and Sudo Access

Linux administrators know that 'chmod' is a powerful tool. It's used to change file permissions, dictating who can read, write, or execute a file. 'Sudo' access, on the other hand, is a privilege that can elevate your account to superuser status, allowing you to execute commands with supreme authority.

The Fateful Night

Yesterday night, I was working on a production EC2 instance. It was late, and my eyelids were getting heavy. In my sleep-deprived state, I needed to make a quick change to a file's permissions. Without much thought, I entered a 'chmod' command with 'sudo.' The error was subtle but catastrophic; I had mistakenly modified the permissions of a critical system file.

As soon as I hit Enter, it was clear that I had made a grave mistake. The server started behaving erratically, and my mood soured. A feeling of dread washed over me as I realized the gravity of my error. The EC2 instance that had been running smoothly just moments ago was now in turmoil.

The 3-Hour Detour

The next three hours were a whirlwind of troubleshooting. I desperately tried to reverse the damage I had done. But as the server continued to misbehave, I realized I needed to restore the file's permissions to their original state.

Ultimately, I had to restore from a backup, which further delayed the process. During those painstaking hours, I learned valuable lessons about the importance of double-checking commands and taking breaks when exhaustion sets in.

The Ongoing Struggle with Sleep

However, the consequences of that one late-night mistake still linger. For the last 3 days, I have been finding it challenging to keep my eyes open during the wee hours. My late-night mistake on a production EC2 instance serves as a stark reminder that even the most experienced administrators can falter. If there's one thing I hope you take away from this tale, it's to be cautious and alert when working with 'chmod' and 'sudo' access on Linux. Double-check your commands, and remember that a small mistake can lead to hours of troubleshooting, sleepless nights, and a newfound respect for morning coffee.