what does mean in /etc/shadow

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In the context of Linux and Unix-like operating systems, the use of “<mean>” in the “/etc/shadow” file typically indicates that a password hash or encryption for the user account’s password is stored using a specific cryptographic algorithm.

Usage and Purpose

The “<mean>” placeholder represents the actual password hash or encrypted value. It is used to secure user passwords, preventing them from being stored in plain text.

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Security and Protection

The use of password hashing and encryption in the “/etc/shadow” file is essential for protecting user credentials and enhancing system security.


The presence of “<mean>” in the “/etc/shadow” file signifies the use of password hashing and encryption to safeguard user passwords on Unix-like operating systems.

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