Assigning ROOT a password

Derek Broughton news at
Mon Apr 28 16:18:39 UTC 2008

David Fletcher wrote:

> At 16:09 28/04/2008, you wrote:
>>No, it isn't a random password. The hash value for the password is set to
>>an invalid value, which can not be generated by any password. Therefore
>>the root password really is disabled.
> I just looked at the /etc/shadow file for a server that I run. The
> entry for root is identical to those for daemon, bin, sys etc and
> it's just sequences of numerical digits with a '*' character at the
> start, where the hash value is placed in the entry for the one user
> on this system.

The password is just the second colon-delimited field on the line.  The
other fields are not password related.

"man shadow" says " If the password field contains some string that is not
valid result of crypt(3), for instance ! or *, the user will not be able to
use a unix password to log in, subject to pam(7). "

ie, there is NO password for those accounts.

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