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I noticed that a check on a good password takes ~.5 seconds. However, if you give a password that is incorrect, it takes ~3 seconds to inform the user as such. Why is this?

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This is probably a safeguard to limit the rate at which passwords can be guessed. Hopefully an answer can be posted confirming (or debunking) this. (Then this comment can be removed as obsolete.) –  Eliah Kagan Jul 13 '12 at 19:30
    
This is indeed for security. @EliahKagan ,Your comment is good enough as an answer for this question. :) –  drake01 Jul 13 '12 at 19:38

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

Its for the security of the operating system. The arbitrary wait is to check brute-force attacks.

Duplicate Question: http://serverfault.com/questions/16232/ubuntu-linux-takes-longer-time-for-incorrect-passwords

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