List all existing local admin users belonging to admin group and mail them to monitoring mail box

Monday, 8th February 2021

Reading Time: 3minutes


If you have a bunch of servers that needs to have a tight security with multiple Local users superuser accounts that change over time and you need to frequently keep an have a long over time if some new system UNIX local users in /etc/passwd /etc/group has been added deleted e.g. the /etc/passwd /etc/group then you might have the task to have some primitive monitoring set and the most primitive I can think of is simply routinely log users list for historical purposes to a common mailbox over time (lets say 4 times a month or even more frequently) you might send with a simple cron job a list of all existing admin authorized users to a logging sysadmin mailbox like lets say:

A remark to make here is the common sysadmin practice scenario to have local existing non-ldap admin users group members of whom are authorized to use sudo su – root via /etc/sudoers  is described in my previous article how to add local users to admin group superuser access via sudo I thus have been managing already a number of servers that have user setup using the above explained admin group.

Thus to have the monitoring at place I've developed a tiny shell script that does check all users belonging to the predefined user group dumps it to .csv format that starts with a simple timestamp on when user admin list was made and sends it to a predefined email address as well as logs sent mail content for further reference in a local directory.

The task is a relatively easy but since nowadays the level of competency of system administration across youngsters is declinging -that's of course in my humble opinion (just like it happens in every other profession), below is the developed


# dump all users belonging to a predefined admin user / group in csv format 
# with a day / month year timestamp and mail it to a predefined admin
# monitoring address
# root@server:/# grep -i 1000 /etc/passwd
# username:x:username:1000:username,,,:/home/username:/bin/bash
# username1:x:username1:1000:username1,,,:/home/username1:/bin/bash
# username5:x:username1:1000:username5,,,:/home/username5:/bin/bash

# root@server # group_id_ID='4355'; grep -i group_id_ID /etc/passwd
# …
# username1:x:1005:4355:username1,,,:/home/username1:/bin/bash
# username5:x:1005:4355,,,:/home/username5:/bin/bash

FIL="/var/log/userlist-log-dir/userlist_$(date +"%d_%m_%Y_%H_%M").txt";
CUR_D="$HOSTN: Current admin users $(date)"; >> $FIL; echo -e "##### $CUR_D #####" >> $FIL;
for i in $(cat /etc/passwd | grep -i /home|grep /bin/bash|grep -e "$ADMINS_ID" -e "$group_id_ID" | cut -d : -f1); do
if [[ $(grep $i /etc/group|grep $group_id) ]]; then
f=$(echo $i); echo $i,group_id,$(id -g $i); else  echo $i,admin,$(id -g $i);
done >> $FIL; mail -s "$CUR_D" $TO_ADDRESS < $FIL is ready for download also here

To make the script report you will have to place it somewhere for example in /usr/local/bin/ ,  create its log dir location /var/log/userlist-log-dir/ and set proper executable and user/group script and directory permissions to it to be only readable for root user.

root@server: # mkdir /var/log/userlist-log-dir/
root@server: # chmod +x /usr/local/bin/
root@server: # chmod -R 700 /var/log/userlist-log-dir/

To make the script generate its admin user reports and send it to the central mailbox  a couple of times in the month early in the morning (assuming you have a properly running postfix / qmail / sendmail … smtp), as a last step you need to set a cron job to routinely invoke the script as root user.

root@server: # crontab -u root -e
12 06 5,10,15,20,25,1 /usr/local/bin/

That's all folks now on 5th 10th, 15th, 20th 25th and 1st at 06:12 you'll get the admin user list reports done. Enjoy 🙂

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