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I recently created a new mount point /usb to be able to mount USB sticks to my Fedora 32 Linux system and tried to run sudo chmod a+rwx /usb on a shell, but accidentally mistyped it as sudo chmod a+rwx /usr.

In panic, I thought I had broken my system. I found this post: Permissions/ownership of /usr/local/bin and reset the permissions for /usr to rwx for root, r-x for everyone else. Then I rebooted just to make sure, and everything worked OK.

To be safe in the future, what is the worst thing that could happen from accidentally setting the wrong permissions to /usr, and how can I recover from it?

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  • There is no need to re-boot for file-permissions to take affect. Dec 7, 2020 at 22:12

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What is the worst thing that could happen from accidentally setting the wrong permissions

  • Someone (that is logged in to your computer) could change system files, then some time later when you run a program e.g. ls it does something that it should not.

However not all mode bits are permissions. There can be a few other effects, if done to other files. This could make your system un-usable (or at least make command such as sudo un-usable.

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