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6.    Click Yes to restart your computer.

Managing User Account and Password Security

Usernames and passwords are key to network security, and you use them to control initial access to your system. Although the network administrator assigns usernames and passwords, users can generally change their passwords. Thus, you need to ensure that users have information about what constitutes a good password. In this section, we’ll look at the security issues related to user accounts and passwords, including resource-sharing models and user account and password management.

Network Resource-Sharing Security Models

You can secure files that are shared over the network in two ways:

■    At the share level

■    At the user level

Although user-level security provides more control over files and is the preferred model, implementing share-level security is easier for the network administrator. Let’s examine these two security models and their features.

Share-Level Security

In a network that uses share-level security, you assign passwords to individual files or other network resources (such as printers) instead of assigning rights to users. You then give these passwords to all users who need access to these resources. All resources are visible from anywhere in the network, and any user who knows the password for a particular network resource can make changes to it. With this type of security, the network support staff will have no way of knowing who is manipulating each resource. Share-level security is best used in smaller networks, where resources are more easily tracked.

Windows 95/98 and Windows NT/2000 support share-level security.

User-Level Security

In a network that uses user-level security, rights to network resources (such as files, directories, and printers) are assigned to specific users who gain access to the network through individually assigned usernames and passwords. Thus, only users who have a valid username and password and have been assigned the appropriate rights to network resources can see and access those resources. User-level security provides greater control over who is accessing which resources because users do not share their usernames and passwords with other users (or at least they shouldn’t). User-level security is, therefore, the preferred method for securing files.

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