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[Deb-SEC]oddball ssh remote passwd question

Hello all,

This is far from as serious an issue as some of the items on the list
right now,
but I thought I'd see if anyone has some input.

I'm running some synchronized machines, and I only want users to change
passwords on the master. So, I thought of writing a script to replace
password that just uses ssh to remotely call password on the master
machine and let them change it there... 

Well, here's the rub.

if you do:
ssh host@somemachine.domain.net password

ssh will have you authenticate to host, and then bring up the password
change prompt
(current) UNIX password: 
on the remote machine.  

BUT when you start typing, the characters show up on screen- not hashed
or unprinted. 
What is it that is striping this functionality from passwd? 

Failing finding a way to get ssh to not express these characters, I
could swear there is a simple way of turning off echoing input to the
screen, but for the life of me I can't remember the command or variable
in bash.

Anyone feeling charitable and want to help out since my memory is



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