HP OpenVMS Guide to System Security > Part III  Security for the System Administrator

Appendix A Assigning Privileges

  Table of Contents



Privileges restrict the use of certain system functions to processes created on behalf of authorized users. These restrictions protect the integrity of the operating system's code, data, and resources and thus, the integrity of user service. Grant privileges to individual users only after carefully considering the following two factors:

  • Whether the user has the skill and experience to use the privilege without disrupting the system

  • Whether the user has a legitimate need for the privilege

Privileges fall into the following seven categories according to the damage that the user possessing them could cause the system:

  • None: No privileges

  • Normal: Minimum privileges to use the system effectively

  • Group: Potential to interfere with members of the same group

  • Devour: Potential to consume noncritical systemwide resources

  • System: Potential to interfere with normal system operation

  • Objects: Potential to compromise the security of protected objects (files, devices, logical name tables, global sections, and so on)

  • All: Potential to control the system

A user's privileges are recorded in the user's UAF record in a 64-bit privilege mask. When a user logs in to the system, the user's privileges are stored in the header of the user's process. In this way, the user's privileges are passed on to the process created for the user. Users can use the DCL command SET PROCESS/PRIVILEGES to enable and disable privileges for which they are authorized and to further control the privileges available to the images they run. Moreover, any user with the SETPRV privilege can enable any privilege.

Table 8-2 “OpenVMS Privileges”Table 8-2 lists the privileges by category and gives brief, general definitions of them. The following sections describe all privileges available on OpenVMS systems in detail; each section title identifies the privilege category (Normal, Devour, and so on). For each privilege, the appendix describes the capabilities granted by the privilege and the users who should receive them.