addseverity - Linux


addseverity is a Linux command used to assign and manage security severity levels to files and directories in the SELinux (Security Enhanced Linux) system. It helps administrators define and enforce security policies based on the sensitivity of data and the potential impact of vulnerabilities.


addseverity [-h] [-v] [-e] [-D] [-s severity] file...


-h: Display help and usage information.

-v: Enable verbose output.

-e: Do not overwrite existing security labels.

-D: Delete security labels instead of adding them.

-s severity: Specify the security severity level to be assigned. Valid levels are:

  • low
  • medium
  • high
  • critical


Setting a low security severity level to a file:

# set low severity to the file "myfile.txt"
addseverity -s low myfile.txt

Adding a medium security severity level to a directory recursively:

# add medium severity to the directory "mydir" and its subdirectories
addseverity -s medium -R mydir

Deleting the security severity label from a file:

# remove the security label from "mysecret.dat"
addseverity -D mysecret.dat

Common Issues

  • Incorrect severity level: Ensure you specify a valid security severity level (-s option).
  • Overwriting existing labels: By default, addseverity overwrites existing labels. Use the -e option to avoid this.
  • Permission denied: You must have sufficient permissions to modify the security labels of the files or directories.


SELinux utilities: addseverity works seamlessly with other SELinux utilities such as semanage and chcon. These can be combined to define complex security policies.

  • semanage: Manage SELinux policies and rules.
  • chcon: Change security contexts of files and directories.

Related Commands

  • setfiles: Set security contexts of multiple files.
  • restorecon: Restore default security contexts.
  • getenforce: Display the current SELinux enforcement mode.