Top OIT Frequently Asked Questions
LU Enterprise - Password Policy
Based upon the SANS Institutes Password Policy with permission. The original document can be found at http://www.sans.org.
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 Lincoln University's entire corporate network. As such, all Lincoln University employees (including contractors and vendors with access to Lincoln University systems) and students are responsible for taking the appropriate steps, as outlined below, 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 Lincoln University facility, has access to the Lincoln University network, or stores any non-public Lincoln University information.
A. General Password Construction Guidelines
Passwords are used for various purposes at Lincoln University. Some of the more common uses include: user level accounts, web accounts, email accounts, screen saver protection, voicemail password, and local router logins. Since very few systems have support for one-time tokens (i.e., dynamic passwords which are only used once), everyone should be aware of how to select strong passwords.
Poor, weak passwords have the following characteristics:
Strong passwords have the following characteristics:
NOTE: Do not use either of these examples as passwords!
B. Password Protection Standards
Do not use the same password for Lincoln University accounts as for other non-Lincoln University access (e.g., personal ISP account, option trading, benefits, etc.). Where possible, don't use the same password for various Lincoln University access needs. For example, select one password for Active Directory systems and a separate password for Datatel.
Do not share Lincoln University passwords with anyone, including administrative assistants or secretaries. All passwords are to be treated as sensitive, Confidential <Company Name> information.
Here is a list of "dont's":
If someone demands a password, refer them to this document or have them call the Office of Information Technology (OIT) Help Desk.
Do not use the "Remember Password" feature of applications (e.g., Eudora, Outlook, Mozilla, 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 OIT Help Desk and change all passwords.
Password cracking or guessing may be performed on a periodic or random basis by OIT or its delegates. If a password is guessed or cracked during one of these scans, the user will be required to change it.
C. Application Development Standards
Application developers must ensure their programs contain the following security precautions.
D. Use of Passwords and Passphrases for Remote Access Users
Access to the Lincoln University Networks via 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 that is known by all, and the private key, that 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. An example of a good passphrase:
All of the rules above that apply to passwords apply to passphrases.
Any employee found to have violated this policy may be subject to disciplinary action provided under the Office of Information Technology, Chapter IV, Section 4.40 and the Discipline Policy, Chapter VII, section 7.61 of the Lincoln University Rules and Regulations, or the Student Code of Conduct.
Application Administration Account - Any account that is for the administration of an application (e.g., Oracle database administrator, ISSU administrator).
ISP – Internet Service Provider
LU – Lincoln University
LDAP – Lightweight Directory Access Protocol
OIT – Office of Information Technology
RADIUS – Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service
SNMP – Simple Network Management Protocol
TACACS+ - Terminal Access Controller Access-Control System Plus
X.509 – ITU-T standard for Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) and Privilege Management Infrastructure (PMI) for cryptography.
7.0 Revision History
LUTC approved July 2008