Nearly everywhere on the internet and on your computer you use passwords to protect all sorts of accounts and data
example user account(s) online banking, Etc from people that shouldn’t have access to them
Your password is the key that unlocks the information that is locked behind the door. Not using a password would make all of your data out in the open and anyone could take a peek at it and do malicious things with it if they choose to do so.

A user name with a password is the most common way of securing data there are other methods being used today such as fingerprints, retina readers and smartcards with out passwords and these devices any person could pretend to be you in chat rooms ,your credit cards web site Etc
For system administration your user name and password are very important the system uses that information to identify you from all the other users that may have accounts on the system and to give you the proper system access and permissions As a example you wouldn’t want a guest on your network to have Administrator privileges if they make one mistake they can really mess things up

What not to do when creating passwords

Don't use passwords that are names of children, pets, favorite sports teams and movies These are considered to be weak passwords because password crackers can very quickly generate countless words, names and variations of those words and names

Avoid using consecutive patterns on your keyboard example abcd,123 zxcv or uiop

Never tape a list of your passwords to your monitor or type them in to wordpad or notepad anyone that has physical access to your computer can use this to get into your data

Don't use use any word or name for your root passwords

Don't reuse old parts of previous passwords

Don't use passwords that are written in different languages

Don't use any part of your login name in your password(s)

Now since you now know what not to do it is time to show you what you should do

Create passwords

When creating a random password use Mnemonics( this is a rhyme or a phrase that you can use to help yourself to rember the password)

example of mnemonics "The cat in the hat comes back" in password form and using special characters the password would look like this

Create different passwords for each account that has access to data that you consider to be sensitive such as credit card web site(s) the admin and your user account on your computer Etc

For sites that contain nonsensitive data such as online news sites etc you can use a one word password

Do change your password every three to six months or sooner ( if you feel it is nessary to do so)

Make the password at least 8 or more characters in length

Create single password for access to nonsensitive data

Different versions of windows comes with various levels of password protection they range from somewhat secure to very secure

Windows 95/98 and Me
Offer low end password protection because it lets you create profiles so you can have your own settings such as wallpaper screen saver Etc
So if you don't know the users password you can't access these features but if you fail to input a password you can still access the programs and harddrive

Windows 2000

Has the option to have users enter a user name and a password before they can use the computer there are three types of group membership that can be granted to a user
1. standard user(poweruser group): Users can modify the computer and install programs but can not read files that belong to other users

2. Restricted user( users group)Users can operate the computer and save documents but can not install programs or make changes to the system files and settings

3. Administrators :Admin have complete and unrestricted access to the system
windows 2000 also has the following options
Enforce password history
Maximum password age
Minimum password age
Minimum password length
Passwords must meet Complexity requirements
Store password using reversible encryption for all users in the domain

Windows xp
is on the very secure end because any person that wishes to use the desktop or computer has to have a user account, password protecting your user account and admin account will prevent anyone from using it intill they input the correct password

Windows Xp provides two types of accounts Admin and user
The admin account can install programs access all files and folders add and delete accounts
the Limited user account(s) are limited account(s) they can't install programs or make system changes unless they have the permission to do so and have access to fewer files

There are software programs that will help you create and manage your passwords

Freeware programs
Descriptions are available on the web site these programs work with 98/Me/NT/200 and XP for any password for the password safe digital identity is not only a password manager it also uses steganography

Programs that cost money

has a program called Personal passworder this program costs $14.99 this program offers a number of features such as a personal passworder that lets you create seperate password protected accounts for multiple users, organize passwords into groups, search your list of passwords and has a customizable password generator with a password expiration

L0pht crack
LC4 is used to check the strength of users passwords by using different types of cracking methods: dictionary, hybrid, and brute force analysis
15 day trial
cost 1 upgrade License $95.00
1 license $350.00