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Administrator Password Tips
from a Master Hacker -
He is paid to find security vulnerabilities
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I just finished my CCSP certification ... trying to get the Certified Ethical Hacker Certification... that will really get me established in the Network Security field. My goal is to...get a job in the Tokyo Financial district maybe in one of the investment banks to protect and secure their networks...thanks for all the help and guidance you have given me throughout my career... click here for more testimonials...

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Administrator Password Security Tips - from a Master Hacker.

NOTE:  The author of most of these comments is a computer security professional, who has asked that personal identity not be disclosed.  This author is currently employed, full-time, in a position that requires travel around the globe regularly, to different locations to attempt to "hack" the computer security.  (The author also wears a white hat - so don't be afraid to follow this tip.)

I have some concerns with the password tips given on the site below ( ).

The very first tool that is recommended in that article is PSPasswd, which can be used along with a batch file to automatically change the local administrator password on local and remote machines.

The local administrator password should NEVER be the same as the domain administrator password!

Second, the local administrator password on one machine should not be the same as the password on another.

If this is too much of a management burden, at least ensure that local admin passwords on domain controllers differ significantly.

Ideally, the passwords should all be different. Log them in a binder, and put the binder in a fire-proof safe. Minimize employee access to the safe/vault.  [Only use the local administrator password, when it is absolutely necessary.  In a domain, your domain login will normally be all you will need to administer a machine.]

Why? Because of another tool recommended in the article, that I never leave home without: Peter Nordhal's NT Password Changer boot disk...

There is a way to use this CD in such a manner that allows local administrator log-in without a password, while at the same time leaving the original password intact. No, I am not kidding; and no, I will not tell anyone how.

Once the local admin password for one machine has been dumped and cracked, I can frequently spread to other machines with the same password.

Surprisingly, I can often spread to the domain controllers in this manner, even if the domain admin password is different. Once I can load my own software on your network, it is not your network anymore!!

If Lan Manager (LM) is enabled, and the password is 14 characters or less, I can crack it in a few hours regardless of the complexity.

You should enable NTLM, DISABLE LM, and require a minimum password length of 15 characters. [Note:  Active Directory wil not allow you to set minimum password length to 15 characters, so set Active Directory minimum password policy to 14 characters, and make 15 characters a written policy.] 

Complexity does not matter as far as cracking is concerned. [In fact a "Complex passwords" policy, as it is currently known in the computer-world is counter-productive.  It just makes passwords harder to remember.  Teach people to create long, easy to remember (for them) "Pass-phrases."  A good example might be "Password is not enough!" This far-exceeds the required 14 characters, is complex (upper and lower case characters, special characters, and spaces), and easy to remember.  With pass-phrases implemented, you can even relax the requirement to change passwords to once a quarter or twice a year.] With a long password or pass-phrase, even shoulder-surfing becomes difficult. Trust me. ;)

I can already hear the nay-sayers: "No one can physically get to my boxes!" Trust me, it can be done. If not, what about the angry guy in the next cubicle who is quitting and going to a competitor in three weeks?

Webmaster Will Harper, MCSE, MCT, CCNA 06/28/2009 10:25

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