Here is one company's password standard. Again, it is short and to the point.
Passwords are an important aspect of computer security. They are the front line of protection for user accounts. A poorly chosen password may result in the compromise of 's entire corporate network. As such, all employees (including contractors and vendors with access to systems) are responsible for taking the appropriate steps, as outlined here, to select and secure their passwords.
The purpose of this policy is to establish a standard for creation of strong passwords, the protection of those passwords, and the frequency of change.
The scope of this policy includes all personnel who have or are responsible for an account (or any form of access that supports or requires a password) on any system that resides at any facility, has access to the network, or stores any nonpublic information.
General Password Construction Guidelines
Passwords are used for various purposes at . Some of the more common uses include user-level accounts, web accounts, e-mail accounts, screen saver protection, voicemail password, and local router logins. Because very few systems have support for one-time tokens (that is, dynamic passwords that are used only once), everyone should be aware of how to select strong passwords.
Poor, weak passwords have the following characteristics:
- Names of family members, pets, friends, coworkers, fantasy characters, and so forth
- Computer terms and names, commands, sites, companies, hardware, software
- The words "" or any derivation
- Birthdays and other personal information such as addresses and phone numbers
- Word or number patterns such as aaabbb, qwerty, zyxwvuts, 123321
- Any of the preceding spelled backward
- Any of the preceding preceded or followed by a digit (for example, secret1, 1secret)
Strong passwords have the following characteristics:
Try to create passwords that can be easily remembered. One way to do this is to create a password based on a song title, affirmation, or other phrase. For example, the phrase might be "This May Be One Way To Remember," and the password could be "TmB1w2R!" or "Tmb1W>r~" or some other variation.
Note: Do not use either of these examples as passwords!
Password Protection Standards
Do not use the same password for accounts as for other non- access (that is, personal ISP account, option trading, benefits, and so forth). When possible, don't use the same password for various access needs. For example, select one password for the engineering systems and a separate password for IT systems. Also, select a separate password to be used for a Windows NT account and a UNIX account.
Do not share passwords with anyone, including administrative assistants or secretaries. All passwords are to be treated as sensitive, confidential information.
Here is a list of don'ts for password use:
If someone demands a password, refer that person to this document or to someone in the information security department.
Do not use the "Remember Password" feature of applications (for instance, Eudora, Outlook, Netscape Messenger).
Again, do not write passwords down and store them anywhere in your office. Do not store passwords in a file on any computer system (including Palm Pilots or similar devices) without encryption.
Change passwords at least once every six months (except system-level passwords, which must be changed quarterly). The recommended change interval is every four months.
If an account or password is suspected to have been compromised, report the incident to INFOSEC and change all passwords.
Password cracking or guessing might be performed on a periodic or random basis by INFOSEC or its delegates. If a password is guessed or cracked during one of these scans, the user will be required to change the password.
Application Development Standards
Application developers must ensure that their programs adhere to the following security precautions:
Use of Passwords and Passphrases for Remote Access Users
Access to the networks by remote access is to be controlled using either a one-time password authentication or a public/private key system with a strong passphrase.
Passphrases are generally used for public/private key authentication. A public/private key system defines a mathematical relationship between the public key, which is known by all, and the private key, which is known only to the user. Without the passphrase to "unlock" the private key, the user cannot gain access.
Passphrases are not the same as passwords. A passphrase is a longer version of a password and is, therefore, more secure. A passphrase is typically composed of multiple words. Because of this, a passphrase is more secure against "dictionary attacks."
A good passphrase is relatively long and contains a combination of upper- and lowercase letters and numeric and punctuation characters. Here is an example of a good passphrase:
All of the preceding rules for passwords apply to passphrases.
Any employee found to have violated this policy can be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.
Application administration account
Any account that is for the administration of an application (for example, Oracle database administrator, ISSU administrator).
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