Setting the SUID/SGID bits
Normally, when a program runs under Linux, it inherits the permissions of the user who is running it, thus if I run a program under my account, the program runs with the same permissions that I would have if that program were me. Thus, if I cannot open a certain file, the program I am running also cannot open the file in question. If I set the SUID or SGID bit for a file, this causes any persons or processes that run the file to have access to system resources as though they are the owner of the file.
(Submitted by Falko Timme Sun Mar 11, 2007 )
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