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SRJC Linux Accounts Acceptable Use Policy Accessing the Servers Using Linux Basic Unix Commands Generating A Secure Password Application for Student Linux Account

Generating a Secure Password

Passwords are required for users to access their Linux accounts. Passwords are used to verify your system identity (i.e. you are an authenticated user) and also to provide users with secure rights to their accounts. It is important for you to generate a password that cannot easily be recognized by others. You never tell your password to anyone or write it down on anything. If you think someone has learned your password, change it. Also, be aware of others near you as you are entering your password.

A minimum of five characters, with no spaces, is required for your password. It is best to use a mixture of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and punctuation marks or symbols. For example, "r9Gc*lb". Never use a password that is based on a word; i.e. a word with a punctuation mark, number or symbol at the beginning, end, or middle of the word. Also, never use passwords that have been published as examples in books, magazines, or other documents.

NEVER use the following for a password:

  • Any variation of your login name, full name, birthdate, social security number or other information about you that is stored on your account machine (Staff or Student).
  • Dictionary words, place names, or proper names of any kind, or from any language.
  • Jargon, slang, acronyms; the names of literary characters, movie characters, or celebrities.
  • Any word or name spelled backwards, with or without interspersed punctuation marks, symbols, or numbers.
  • Any variation of your name, address, birthdate, Social Security number, license plate number, telephone number or other information that can be readily accessed by the general public.
  • Your pets names, or the names of any family members.
  • The first letter of the words of a common phrase.

A good method of generating a secure password is to take the first or last letter of each word of a phrase that is significant to you. Capitalize some letters and substitute a number or symbol for others in a pattern that will be easy for you to remember. For example, "I eat too much chololate!", becomes "Ietmc!". With some substitution and a little rearrangement, we get "!ie2m^".

Another example is the phrase "Four score and seven years ago". Taking the first characters we get 4sa7ya, changing the 's' to a $ and the a's to the @ symbol we have 4$@7y@. Now surround that with a significant year say '68' and we get 64$@7y@8. And only you know the key:-)

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