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Linux Tutorial - Security - Passwords
  Restricting Access ---- File Access  


Passwords

In some cases, passwords may be blank, meaning you only need to press enter. In other cases it can be removed altogether so you are never even prompted to input your password. Removing the password may not always be a good idea. Since you have the source code, Linux allows you the option to prevent users from either having no password or having to just press return. Since we are talking here about security and accounts without passwords are not very secure, we'll restrict ourselves to talking about accounts that have passwords.

On many systems (including many Linux versions) you cannot force users to use (or not use) specific passwords. As a system administrator it is your responsibility to not only enforce a strong password policy, but to educate your users as to why this is important. Later, we'll go over some examples of what happens when users are not aware of the issues involved with password security.

If you write your password on to a Post-It and stick it on your monitor, no operating system in the world can do anything about it. But what about cases where you inadvertently give someone your password? This happens when users choose passwords that are easily guessed by someone trying to break in. Often users will choose passwords that are easy to remember, such as their license plate number or spouse's birthday. Linux cannot do anything to keep you from using your license plate number as a password. However, some features can be easily built in to limit what you can use as a password.

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Copyright 2002-2009 by James Mohr. Licensed under modified GNU Free Documentation License (Portions of this material originally published by Prentice Hall, Pearson Education, Inc). See here for details. All rights reserved.
  
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