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Updated: July 2014

passmass (1)


passmass - change password on multiple machines


passmass [ host1 host2 host3 ...  ]


User Commands                                         PASSMASS(1)

     passmass - change password on multiple machines

     passmass [ host1 host2 host3 ...  ]

     Passmass  changes  a  password on multiple machines.  If you
     have accounts on several machines that do not share password
     databases,  Passmass  can  help  you  keep them all in sync.
     This, in turn, will make it easier to change them more  fre-

     When  Passmass  runs,  it asks you for the old and new pass-
     words.  (If you are changing root passwords and have equiva-
     lencing, the old password is not used and may be omitted.)

     Passmass  understands  the  "usual" conventions.  Additional
     arguments may be used for tuning.   They  affect  all  hosts
     which follow until another argument overrides it.  For exam-
     ple, if you are known as "libes" on  host1  and  host2,  but
     "don" on host3, you would say:

          passmass host1 host2 -user don host3

     Arguments are:

              User  whose  password will be changed.  By default,
              the current user is used.

              Use rlogin to access host.  (default)

              Use slogin to access host.

              Use ssh to access host.

              Use telnet to access host.


              Next argument is a program to run to set the  pass-
              word.   Default  is "passwd".  Other common choices

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User Commands                                         PASSMASS(1)

              are "yppasswd" and "set passwd" (e.g., VMS  hosts).
              A  program name such as "password fred" can be used
              to create entries for new  accounts  (when  run  as

              Next  argument  is  a  prompt suffix pattern.  This
              allows the script to know when the shell is prompt-
              ing.   The  default  is  "# " for root and "% " for
              non-root accounts.

              Next argument is the number of seconds to wait  for
              responses.   Default  is 30 but some systems can be
              much slower logging in.

          -su  Next argument is 1 or 0.  If 1, you are  addition-
              ally  prompted for a root password which is used to
              su after logging in.  root's  password  is  changed
              rather  than  the user's.  This is useful for hosts
              which do not allow root to log in.

     The best way to run Passmass is to put the command in a one-
     line  shell script or alias.  Whenever you get a new account
     on a new machine, add the appropriate arguments to the  com-
     mand.   Then  run  it whenever you want to change your pass-
     words on all the hosts.

     Using the same password on multiple hosts carries risks.  In
     particular,  if the password can be stolen, then all of your
     accounts are at risk.  Thus, you should not use Passmass  in
     situations  where your password is visible, such as across a
     network which hackers are known to eavesdrop.

     On the other hand, if you have enough accounts with  differ-
     ent  passwords, you may end up writing them down somewhere -
     and that can be a security problem.  Funny story: my college
     roommate  had  an  11"x13"  piece  of  paper on which he had
     listed accounts and passwords all across the Internet.  This
     was  several  years  worth of careful work and he carried it
     with him everywhere he went.  Well one  day,  he  forgot  to
     remove  it  from  his  jeans, and we found a perfectly blank
     sheet of paper when we took out the wash the following  day!

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User Commands                                         PASSMASS(1)

     See   attributes(5)   for   descriptions  of  the  following

     |Availability   | shell/expect     |
     |Stability      | Uncommitted      |
     "Exploring Expect: A Tcl-Based Toolkit for Automating Inter-
     active Programs" by Don Libes, O'Reilly and Associates, Jan-
     uary 1995.

     Don Libes, National Institute of Standards and Technology

     This  software  was   built   from   source   available   at    The  original
     community  source  was   downloaded   from    http://source-

     Further information about this software can be found on  the
     open source community website at

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