About password security

Weak passwords are probably the most common source of security problems. Even at home, you may expose yourself to trouble if somebody is able to hack your computer when you browse the Internet and read your files. Here are some examples of hazardous passwords:

- no password (possible!);
- the word "password" (wow, this one is really weak!);
- your first or last name or your user login name;
- name of your wife (husband), daughter, girlfriend, dog, etc.;
- name of your company, department, workgroup, etc.;
- date of your birth;
- password written in the calendar on your desk or on the side of your computer;
- any word which is in the dictionary (the dictionary does not contain so many words as it might seem, a skillful hacker can set up a program to try them all);
- a password which you also use in an insecure public place, for example an Internet store or a
mailing list.

A good password is relatively long (minimum 6 letter), contains a mixture of letters (upper and lower case, if possible) and numbers, and is changed quite regularly (8 weeks?). The system administrator can set the password policy through the utility included in this configuration program (run as root):


under the menu "user account"-"policies"-"password & account policies".

Also make sure that any file that contains a password (e.g., /root/.kde/share/config/kppprc) has proper secure permissions so that it cannot be read by anybody. Most likely you want: chmod 600 kppprc

Posted on: 14/12/2009

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