Monday, May 11, 2009

Using Question Mark For Secret Password With Cisco Routers and Switches

As you know a question mark in Cisco IOS (Internetwork Operating System) is used to display available options in the context you actually are. What if you want to use a question mark as a one of the letters of your password? We will assume the password you want to use is "qm?".

If you use it here is what will show:

Router(config)#enable secret ?
0 Specifies an UNENCRYPTED password will follow
5 Specifies an ENCRYPTED secret will follow
LINE The UNENCRYPTED (cleartext) 'enable' secret

level Set exec level password

Even if you type the beginning of it:

Router(config)#enable secret qm?
Router(config)#enable secret qm

It still comes back to just "qm". So how can we use it? You need to press CTRL+v prior to pressing "?":

Router(config)#enable secret qm?

Whoala! The magic combination was CTRL+v.
By the way you may have the idea to cut and paste a "?" from the notepad into terminal try it... and let us know.


  1. I tried it and it worked like a charm.

    this is so neat!!!

    I'm going to have "?" on all of my passwords from now on.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.