How am I supposed to pass a password to ldapsearch using the -y <password file> option?
If I write the password in the password file in plain text, I get this error:

ldap_bind: Invalid credentials (49)
    additional info: 80090308: LdapErr: DSID-0C0903AA, comment: AcceptSecurityContext error, data 52e, v1772

The same happens if I use the -w <password> option.

The command I'm running is

ldapsearch -x -D <my dn> -y .pass.txt -h server.x.x -b "dc=x,dc=y" "cn=*"

Where the file .pass.txt contains my password, in plain text. Both the DN and the password are correct. If I run the command with the -W option and type the password on the prompt the command runs successfully, but I would like to store the password somehow to make a script.

  • What kind of "password file" are you using? You may want to show us the complete command you are typing. Are you using correct bind credentials? – solefald May 11 '10 at 16:27

Keep in mind that ldapsearch will use the entire contents of the file for the password--which means it WILL include a terminating newline character if one exists. To verify if this is in fact your problem, try creating a file without one:

echo -n ThisIsaBadPassword > .pass.txt

(UPDATE: Included '-n')

  • 1
    I just tried that, but I get exactly the same error... – Paolo Tedesco May 11 '10 at 16:49
  • 2
    No, it won't. You need echo -n or printf in order to avoid the newline. – grawity May 11 '10 at 19:23
  • The echo -n did the trick! Thank you all for your help. – Paolo Tedesco May 12 '10 at 7:14
  • In followup to grawity's comment, echo -n works perfectly, e.g.: echo -n "secretpassword" > /etc/ldapscripts/ldapscripts.passwd – Ned W. Oct 9 '13 at 20:16
  • Annoying problem solved due to this, thanks. I just used sed to strip the end of an existing file, though. – wirefox May 4 '18 at 19:06

Assuming it is the newline/carriage reuturn try the following:

cat .pass.txt | tr -d '\n\r' > .pass2.txt

Then use the .pass2.txt file. You can always check for new lines and carriage returns with cat -vE and they will show up as $ and ^M respectively.

You could also probably do -y <(cat .pass.txt | tr -d '\n\r') directly in the ldapsearch command.


ldapsearch -x -D cn=Manager,dc=domain,dc=com -y pass.txt -H ldap://ldap.domain.com -b dc=domain,dc=com

You might have to chmod 600 pass.txt


There's no need to dump the password into an actual file. Just echo it with the -n flag to prevent the newline, then read it in from the STDIN file descriptor (/dev/fd/0) as follows:

echo -n 'mypassword' | ldapsearch -x -D <my dn> -y /dev/fd/0 -h server.x.x -b "dc=x,dc=y" "cn=*"
  • the problem with this approach is it leaves you subject to shell history and PS to discover your password. – cgseller May 2 '18 at 15:53
  • 1
    Point taken. It's mid-2018 now. I've learned from my mistakes. Don't take my 2014 blathering seriously. Thank you. :) – Brian Showalter Jun 6 '18 at 2:27

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