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Desktop and network security are becoming
increasingly more important to keeping hackers and other
unauthorized users out of your computers and your network. One step
you can take to help prevent intrusions is to strengthen your
password policies. Long passwords that are difficult to guess and
which contain a mix of special characters, numbers, and cases can
be almost impossible to guess or crack.

First, don’t use passwords that contain words,
and particularly don’t use passwords that contain only words. These
passwords are easy to crack by brute-force crackers. Second, mix
special characters such as these–!@#$%&*–in your passwords
along with letters and numbers. Doing so can make the password very
difficult to guess. It can also make it difficult to remember, so
consider using a mnemonic for your password. For example, iLpi!Wm#
could be “I like pie with milk.”

You can enforce some of these password
restrictions for your users with group policy. The Administrative
Tools/Account Policies/Password Policy branch includes a handful of
policies that define and enforce password characteristics. These
policies also determine how frequently a user must change his or
her password and how soon the user can reuse a password.