IN THIS CHAPTER
Exploring the factors involved in password security
Learning the types of passwords Mac OS X uses
Selecting appropriate passwords
Using software tools to create and fill in passwords for you
Resetting a lost or forgotten administrator's password
Implementing a firmware password for your Mac
Using hardware to improve password security
A typical Mac user encounters requests for a password numerous times every day. Passwords pervade Mac OS X itself, appearing in a great many forms and serving a variety of purposes. In addition, the services to which you connect with your Mac — file servers, websites, wireless networks, and the like — usually require passwords. In fact, for most Mac users, the need to generate, remember, and fill in passwords occurs so frequently that the task becomes overwhelming. If you find yourself using the same password everywhere (perhaps even something as simple as your name or the word password), you're not alone. Unsafe as it may be, it's the only way some people have found to cope with password overload.
In this chapter, I get to the bottom of the password problem. How can you tell if a password is truly secure? Why does Mac OS X seem to need so many passwords? How can you choose safe passwords — and remember them all? If you've ever found the topic of passwords frustrating or perplexing, you should be able to find the answers you need here.