Tricks Of The Trades

How to Set Up pwgen Unix Password Generator

The shell program pwgen is one of a number of password generation tools that creates both human-readable and machine formatted random passwords. It achieves this using /dev/urandom and like any of these password solution programs attempt to make passwords as secure as possible, within the given parameters.

Here’s a seemingly safe password strength checker where you can gauge how secure any existing or generated passwords are: HowSecureIsMyPassword.net

how secure is my password
I entered my main password

1 – Install pwgen

You can usually find pwgen in your distribution’s repositories through its package manager.

Arch Linux

Using Pacman this acquires and installs the program:

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  1. $ sudo pacman -S pwgen

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Debian / Ubuntu

Using Apt this acquires and installs the program:

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  1. $ sudo apt-get install pwgen

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2 – Letters & Numbers

Will generate a one line password consisting of only letters and numbers, with a total of 16 characters:

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  1. $ pwgen -1 16

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3 – Secure

Generate a one-line password with hard to memorize random characters (-s), that has a total overall of 16 characters:

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  1. $ pwgen -1 -s 16

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4 – Symbols

Generate a one-line password inclusive of at least one symbol -y that has a total overall of 16 characters:

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  1. $ pwgen -1 -y 16

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5 – Secure & Symbols

Generate a one line password with hard to memorize random characters (-s), inclusive of at least one symbol (-y) that has a total overall of 16 characters:

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  1. $ pwgen -1 -sy 16

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6 – Extra Options

Don’t include numbers in the generated password with -0 and consist of 8 characters overall:

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  1. $ pwgen -1 -0 8

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Don’t use characters that could be confused by the user when printed, such as l and 1, or 0 or O‘, and consist of 8 characters overall:

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  1. $ pwgen -1 -B 8

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Don’t include capitals in the generated password and consist of 8 characters overall::

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  1. $ pwgen -1 -A 8

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For everything else there’s man :

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  1. $ man pwgen

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