Why do I get a root shell by dpkg when choosing 'examine the situation' after config file changes?

by T.Meyer   Last Updated September 11, 2019 17:02 PM

When updating packages, it sometimes happens that the package distributor ships an updated version of some configuration files. Usually, the following dialogue appears:

==> Modified (by you or by a script) since installation.
 ==> Package distributor has shipped an updated version.
   What would you like to do about it ?  Your options are:
    Y or I  : install the package maintainer's version
    N or O  : keep your currently-installed version
      D     : show the differences between the versions
      Z     : start a shell to examine the situation
 The default action is to keep your current version.
*** bash.bashrc (Y/I/N/O/D/Z) [default=N] ? 

I chose to start a shell to "examine the situation" (Z).

I probably have to add that the updated configuration file required root permissions to read & write.

I was a little surprised when I saw that the sub-shell was a root shell and I didn't have to provide a password.

Why do I get a root shell without having to type in the root password?

Isn't that a security issue?

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