Whenever you are prompted to enter a password in the Debian terminal, enter your password without receiving any visual indication or feedback from the screen. In such a situation, there is a possibility that you could falsify your password by entering it incorrectly. This is the reason why visual feedback is so important. It helps you keep track of the number of characters you enter, especially while you are typing passwords, so you can’t miss any characters or enter additional characters. Such visual feedback is provided by the display of asterisks (***) when entering passwords. In this article, we will tell you how to enable this feature in the Debian Buster 10 terminal.

Important: Here it is important to mention that while it is useful, it is not a very good security practice to make the asterisks visible. It gives away the number of characters in your password if your computer is shared or remotely accessible. So the as-te risks actually make your PC risky.

Making Password Asterisks Visible in the Terminal

For making password asterisks visible in Debian terminal, you need to perform the following steps:

1. Launch the Terminal through the Application Launcher search as follows:

Debian Terminal

The Application Launcher can be accessed through the Super/Windows key.

The newly opened Terminal window is shown below:

Terminal Window

2. Now type the command sudo visudo in command prompt and press Enter. As soon as you will press Enter, you will be asked to enter your password.

Run visudo

3. When you enter your password, a system file called sudoers will open with the Nano editor in the Terminal. This file is shown below:

Edit sudoers file

4. By making use of the arrow keys, scroll down to the line Defaults env_reset. This line is highlighted in the following image:

Change sudoers setting

5. Modify this line by adding ,pwfeedback at the end. This is shown below:

Enable pwfeedback

6. After this modification, press Ctrl+ X to save the changes and press y in response to the question shown below:

Save configuration file changes

7. It will ask you a filename to write to. Just press Enter to choose default.

Save file

8. After this step, you will be returned to the regular terminal window. Just type exit and press Enter or click on the cross located at the top left corner to close the Terminal window.

9. Now, whenever you will open Terminal next time and type any command with sudo, you will be able to view asterisks against your entered password as shown below:

In this way, you can make the password asterisks visible in the Debian Terminal by following a very few simple steps. These settings will be saved for the future unless you change them otherwise by modifying this file again.

How to show Asterisks in the Debian Terminal when entering a Password
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Karim Buzdar

About the Author: Karim Buzdar holds a degree in telecommunication engineering and holds several sysadmin certifications. As an IT engineer and technical author, he writes for various web sites. You can reach Karim on LinkedIn