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Passwords - Hints & Tips

Hard Passwords - Background

Considerable technology, financial cost and effort have been put into ensuring the provision, availability and security of West Lothian Council computer systems.

In order to access most of these systems, users are asked to 'log-on' using passwords. Passwords are the primary way West Lothian Council verifies that users logging into its computer systems are who they claim to be.

The Council has a responsibility to protect these systems and data under Audit Requirements, Insurance Requirements and Legal Requirements (e.g. Data Protection Act).

However, passwords can be a considerable vulnerability within these systems. For example,

An easily guessed or acquired password may allow an intruder to use modify, corrupt or destroy files.

This is why password security is enormously important for the protection of the user, the workstation, systems, data and the network.

The following standards and guidelines specifically apply to network passwords. However, the same principles apply to all passwords issued within West Lothian Council.

Where computers are left unattended, screen should either be locked or a password-protected screen saver should be set.

The following sections have been set out as guidance in selecting and operating network passwords: