master.passwd -- securing

Eric F Crist ecrist at
Thu Dec 18 09:41:18 PST 2003

Why do you want to do this?  master.passwd already is inherantly secure.
The /etc/passwd file is what's used by most programs, and master.passwd
only for login purposes.  You have to have the password stored somewhere
or there can be no authentication, unless you go with some sort of
hardware credential.

Eric F Crist
AdTech Integrated Systems, Inc
(612) 998-3588

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-freebsd-questions at
[mailto:owner-freebsd-questions at] On Behalf Of Rhys John
Sent: Thursday, December 18, 2003 5:44 AM
To: freebsd-questions at
Subject: Re: master.passwd -- securing

Both accounts are now active but i would like to remove the encrypted
password from master.passwd and replace it with a *. Is this possible

Thanks for your reply hugle

>From: hugle <hugle at>
>Reply-To: hugle <hugle at>
>To: freebsd-questions at
>Subject: Re: master.passwd -- securing
>Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2003 03:39:18 -0800
>RJ> Ive been playing with "vipw" trying to change passwords into "*"
>RJ> for a slightly higher level of security but ran into some very big
>RJ> problems.
>RJ> reading through the FreeBSD handbook it seemed all i had to do was
>RJ> the encrypted password with *, which is what i did. I thought it
>RJ> seemed
>RJ> bit odd but continued anyway. Foolishly (although i was quite
>RJ> tired) i
>RJ> this to both my user account and root. So they both had * as their
>RJ> and looked the same as every other entry in the file. I saved it
>RJ> and
>RJ> updated the database so i thought all was well and logged off to
>RJ> big mistake! The net result of this was not good, i couldnt access
>RJ> my
>RJ> account or root :( Anyway i had to cut the power to my PC since i
>RJ> shut it down because i was locked out. After that i went into
>RJ> single
>RJ> mode and changed the passwords back and its working now but i cant
>RJ> hide
>RJ> passwords. So i guess after all this rambling my question is how to

>RJ> i
>RJ> the password file? How do i change from the encrypted password to *
>RJ> screwing over my system? Any help would by much appreciated
>try doing that:
>#Forget your root pw?
>1. Reboot. when you see the "boot" prompt, type boot -s and hit enter
>2. run this command: fsck -p / && mount -u / 3. use the `passwd`
>command to set a password for root 4. reboot, done
>hope that helps..
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