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If I type in the wrong password at login, then the system forces me to wait for about a second before I can retry. Is there a way to reduce this timeout? Also, is there a global timeout setting for su and sudo or do I have to change those timeouts using a different method?

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For sudo-timeout see this question:… – Bobby Jul 20 '10 at 12:37
up vote 2 down vote accepted

change the FAIL_DELAY line in /etc/login.defs. That should affect both login and su. But why would you want to do that ?

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"the system forces me to wait for about a second before I can retry" Methinks the OP wants not to wait for a second to retry. – Paul Draper Jun 2 '14 at 11:52

Checking out /etc/login.defs on Ubuntu 11.10 I see that the config option that b0fh mentions has been moved to the /etc/pam.d/login file as:

auth       optional  delay=3000000

which I changed from 3 sec. to half a second in order to lessen the effect of my bad habit of often getting my password wrong on the first go. (I consider the added risk of a brute-force attack taking one-sixth of the time it would have taken otherwise is a negligible factor)

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Oh my goodness, thank you. Incorrect passwords, while unoften, drive me crazy. – Ehtesh Choudhury Dec 13 '12 at 20:18
@shurane: I might be mistaken but IIRC I felt like changing this value actually didn´t make any difference in my system at the time. Could you confirm that my advice did change your timeout length? – GummiV Dec 14 '12 at 7:45
@GumminV: it does not have any effect for me on Ubuntu 12.10 – sup Dec 14 '12 at 15:22

For some reason editing the delay in /etc/pam.d/login has no effect for my Ubuntu 12.04.

It would be best to have a small but nonzero delay (like half a second); I could not do that, but I was able to disable the delay by editing /etc/pam.d/common-auth from

auth    [success=1 default=ignore] nullok_secure


auth    [success=1 default=ignore] nullok_secure nodelay

No reboot required.

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