The feedback from systems does not provide any information that would allow unauthorized individuals to compromise authentication mechanisms. For some types of systems or system components, for example, desktop or notebook computers with relatively large monitors, the threat (often referred to as shoulder surfing) may be significant. For other types of systems or components, for example, mobile devices with small displays, this threat may be less significant, and is balanced against the increased likelihood of typographic input errors due to the small keyboards. Therefore, the means for obscuring the authenticator feedback is selected accordingly. Obscuring authenticator feedback includes displaying asterisks when users type passwords into input devices or displaying feedback for a very limited time before fully obscuring it.