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Old 12-31-2004, 04:59 AM   #1
Registered: Oct 2004
Location: Romania
Distribution: Ubuntu server, FreeBsd
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Implementing password policy

How can password policy be implemented in a company network?
What are the most important rules that must be fallowed?

Now I am thinking of the following rules:

- passwords must be greater than 8 chars (letters, numbers and special chars)
- no dictionary words

This is easy for administration passwords. But what can be done with users' passwords. How can I force windows users to change their password regularly or not to use dictionary words or to have a minimum length of the password? Is the user side of the password policy also important?

How have you implemented a password policy in your network?

Old 12-31-2004, 06:03 AM   #2
Registered: Aug 2004
Distribution: debian, SuSE
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password length is defined by an entry in the

Rules for passwords such as mixed numbers chars etc are all part of the
Plugable Authentication Modules (PAM)
Old 12-31-2004, 12:59 PM   #3
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Registered: Mar 2003
Location: Boise, ID
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Here are a few password policy suggestions:

* PW's should be a minimum length, and should be case-sensitive
* PW's should contain a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters
* No dictionary words
* PW's cannot match the login ID. Similarly, if you know the user's real name, the PW's cannot contain either the first or last name
* PW's should expire after a reasonable amount of time. Previous PW's cannot be reused (meaning you should retain a history of say, the last 4 or 6 passwords each user used)

The trade-off when it comes to passwords is simply that a really good password would be random (eg, "eR5z4jNy+M") but which also makes it very difficult for a person to remember. Plus, if those kinds of PW's expired after say 30 or 60 days, realistically people would end up writing down the PW on paper and taping it to the PC or underneath their keyboard.

In order to overcome the "hard to remember" factor, some companies are implementing a pass-phrase rather than a password. Similarly what you could to would be to have people create a password using the first letter of a favorite quote, song lyric, or whatever. Example: "Sounds like somebody's got a case of the Mondays" becomes "SlsgacotM" which appears quite random, but should be simple for the user who selected it to remember. Good luck with it. As I said the main issue IMO is just finding the right balance between having your users adhere to good PW policies while not making them so hard to remember that people are forced to write them down in plain sight. -- J.W.
Old 12-31-2004, 02:02 PM   #4
Registered: Oct 2004
Location: Romania
Distribution: Ubuntu server, FreeBsd
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J.W., your answer was exactly what I was looking for.
Maybe this is the only way I can force an average user to user "Th7-jMNgb" as password instead of "11nov1980" or "bonjovi".



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