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ICT Department Homepage5.1.3 Protecting Data

Revision points:
Candidates should be able to:
  • describe what is meant by the terms user Ids and passwords, stating their purpose and use

Ways to restrict access:

  • A user Id (user identification) and password is used to control the access to computers or computer networks.
  • Each user must enter a unique username and a password to log on.
  • The purpose of the user ID is to identify who the user is when they log on.
  • The use of the user ID is to control access levels for the files and settings on the computer or network.
    • Some users will only have READ access to files while others may have READ, COPY and DELETE access.
    • Controlling access levels can limit which users can install software or change the computer setup.
    • In a school network, the administrator would have the highest level of access, followed by staff and then pupils.
  • The purpose of a password is to prevent a hacker logging on with someone else's user ID.
  • The use of of a password is therefore to make sure that only the genuine user is logging on.
    • The password is a secret combination of letters and/or numbers to  prevents someone accessing a computer system with a user ID that was not their own.
    • A strong passwords should have at least six characters and should be a random combination of letters (uppercase and lowercase) and numbers.  ( 'Xf5r4723hj' would be much better than 'Dylan' for example)
    • Protecting passwords - to protect passwords from hackers, the system should:
      • force the user to change passwords regularly (the longer you use a particular password, the more likely it is that it may be discovered and the longer it can be used).
      • have an automatic lockout if a password is wrongly entered too many times. This may prevent a hacker repeatedly trying to guess a password.

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