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Password Security

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Scott M. Morris

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Posted: 22 Dec 2004

There seems to be a growing concern for security these days, and rightly so. There was a 40% increase in identity theft alone from 2002 to 2003. How can you keep your personal information safe? The answer may be simpler than you think. In many cases, if you just exercise good habits with your passwords, your data will be much more secure.

Passwords :

  1. should contain 8 characters. For example, "red" is not a good password; it's too easy to guess.

  2. should be changed often. The longer your password is the same, the more likely someone is to discover it.

  3. should contain a mixture of letters and numbers. This makes the password harder to guess.

  4. should not contain words from the dictionary. These types of passwords are easier to guess.

A common technique that crackers use to obtain passwords is called "Brute Forcing." They have programs that they can run that will guess thousands of passwords per second to gain access to an account. Many times, if the suggestions listed above are followed, it would be exponentially more difficult for a cracker obtain your password.

In Novell Linux Desktop, it is very easy to change your account password.

  1. Click on the "N" menu, followed by the "System" submenu. Select "More Programs," and choose the "Change Password" option:

  2. Type in your current password and click "OK."

  3. Type in the new password in the "Password:" and "Verify:" boxes. They must match. Click "OK."

  4. The system will tell you that the password has been changed; click "OK."

  5. You are finished.

Using secure passwords and changing them often can potentially save time and trouble in the future. Increasing numbers of threats and privacy issues make this practice essential to peace of mind.

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