The March 2010 Reader Challenge

I continue to receive questions, comments, and advice about passwords, which have been the subject of several recent Reader Challenges. Even in small business networks, users without rights to certain information (such as payroll) are managing to figure out passwords and break into computers that have sensitive information. Using strong passwords would solve many of these problems (as long as users don't put their passwords on sticky notes attached to their monitors, which seems to be a common paradigm). There are some accepted definitions of "strong passwords" and this month's challenge lets you see whether you understand the concepts.

First, let's agree that at minimum a strong password is comprised of a combination of at least eight characters representing two or more of the following categories: uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and other keyboard keys. That minimum requirement is only the beginning, and your challenge is to be aware of other requirements for strong passwords as well as the rules for passwords for Windows.

Question 1: All keyboard keys except the space are available for use in a strong password.

A) True

B) False

Question 2: Password hints are available for which of the following?

A) Only for stand-alone computers and computers in workgroups

B) Only for stand-alone computers and computers in domains

C) For all computers

Question 3: The name of the last user to log on automatically appears in the logon dialog box for which of the following?

A) Only for computers joined to workgroups

B) Only for computers joined to domains

C) For all computers



Question 1: B

Question 2: A

Question 3: B


March 2010 Reader Challenge Winner

Congratulations to Anthony Rogers of Illinois, the winner of our March 2010 Reader Challenge. He wins a copy of Windows 7: The Definitive Guide from O'Reilly Media (