Strong Passwords

     The old ‘’ SunOS server is the NIS (Network Information Services) master where passwords are kept and distributed.

     It is so because Linux is backwards compatible but passwords generated on Linux would be unusable on that machine.

     However this arrangement presents some problems.  Chief among them is that there is no means to enforce strong passwords and passwords are limited in terms of significant characters to half of what Linux allows.

     A secondary problem is that because of incompatibilities, in order to change a password, it is necessary to login to the old machine and change it.

     A near term fix for this will be setting up a Linux based NIS master and maintaining an independent database on the old machine, probably. There are some replacement password systems for these old machines which I am investigating for compatibility with Linux.  If one can’t be found then access will be via special request rather than available automatically.

     In the longer term I hope to move away from NIS altogether and switch over to LDAP.  I have not had success in getting LDAP to compile under SunOS thus far.

     I need to ask you folks please choose more complex passwords. A word, or a word with a number after it, is NOT secure.  Dictionary attacks will find these in about five nanoseconds.

     It is advisable to choose a rich character set in your password, preferably UPPER and lower case, numbers, and punctuation.  Your password should be at least eight characters long and preferably longer.  It is best that the letter portion not be dictionary words, choose say the 2nd letter from each word in a sentence or something else you can remember but won’t be in a dictionary.

     When an account is compromised and used to send spam, it results in remote sites with crappy spam handling, blocking all e-mail from our site.  Yahoo is most problematic in this regard.  For this reason it is important that you secure your account with a strong password.