# Ubuntu – How to always enforce sudo password for specific command

command lineserversudo

The other day I was doing some maintenance tasks on my web server. I was in hurry and sleepy, so I did everything using sudo command.

And then, I accidentally pressed Ctrl+V, sending this command to my web server:

sudo rm -rf /*


For those wondering what above command does: This deleted my whole web server

Luckily, I had backups and sadly, I had to spend two more hours being awake to fix this awesome error. But since then, I have been wondering:

Is there a way to always enforce sudo password for specific command?

If the server asked me for a password, I would save myself from lot of trouble. It did not, because I ran about 5 sudo commands before this majestic error.

So, is there a way to do it? I just need the password with the rm command to always be enforced. Other commands I am using are usually nano or cp which both are (to some extent) revertable.

You can set the timestamp_timeout to 0 for particular commands in /etc/sudoers. Create a file visudo -f /etc/sudoers.d/pduck with the following content:

Cmnd_Alias DANGEROUS = /bin/rm

Defaults!DANGEROUS timestamp_timeout=0

pduck ALL = (ALL:ALL) DANGEROUS


Now the user pduck is always asked for a password when running sudo rm (no matter what additional parameters are given) even though the user is member of the sudo group and sudo remembers his password for other commands.

The downside is that you cannot easily add parameters to the /bin/rm line in the file to further restrict this. Well… you can, like:

Cmnd_Alias DANGEROUS = /bin/rm -f


but then you just get prompted for exactly sudo rm -f and not (again) for sudo rm -rf, for example.