Requirement 2: Do not use vendor-supplied defaults for system passwords and other security parameters

Hackers (external and internal to a company) often use vendor default passwords and other vendor default settings to compromise systems. These Passwords and settings are well known in hacker communities and easily determined via public information.

This may seem like common sense, but you would be surprised. There are many  manufacturers that set very easy default passwords on their products before shipping. Some as easy as the word PASSWORD.

We have a very stringent password protocol here that includes weekly password changes. This is a practice that each and every one of us should adhere to.

Password Basics:

  • Use at least eight characters, the more characters the better really, but most people will find anything more than about 15 characters difficult to remember.
  • Use a random mixture of characters, upper and lower case, numbers, punctuation, spaces and symbols.
  • Don't use a word found in a dictionary, English or foreign.
  • Never use the same password twice.

Things To Avoid

  • Don't just add a single digit or symbol before or after a word. e.g. "apple1"
  • Don't double up a single word. e.g. "appleapple"
  • Don't simply reverse a word. e.g. "elppa"
  • Don't just remove the vowels. e.g. "ppl"
  • Key sequences that can easily be repeated. e.g. "qwerty","asdf" etc.
  • Don't just garble letters, e.g. converting e to 3, L or i to 1, o to 0. as in "z3r0-10v3"

Bad Passwords

  • Don't use passwords based on personal information such as: name, nickname, birthdate, wife's name, pet's name, friends name, home town, phone number, social security number, car registration number, address etc. This includes using just part of your name, or part of your birthdate.
  • Don't use passwords based on things located near you. Passwords such as "computer", "monitor", "keyboard", "telephone", "printer", etc. are useless.
  • Don't ever be tempted to use one of those oh so common passwords that are easy to remember but offer no security at all. e.g. "password", "letmein".
  • Never use a password based on your username, account name, computer name or email address.
Check out more great password tips at Lockdown