When users log in to a system, they must supply both a user name and a password. Although logins are publicly known, passwords must be kept secret. Passwords should be known only to each user. You should ask your users to choose their passwords carefully. Users should change their passwords often.
Passwords are initially created when you set up a user account. To maintain security on user accounts, you can set up password aging to force users to routinely change their passwords. You can also disable a user account by locking the password. For detailed information about administering passwords, see Chapter 4, Managing User Accounts and Groups (Overview), in System Administration Guide: Basic Administration and the passwd(1) man page.
If your network uses local files to authenticate users, the password information is kept in the system's /etc/passwd and /etc/shadow files. The user name and other information are kept in the password file /etc/passwd. The encrypted password itself is kept in a separate shadow file, /etc/shadow. This security measure prevents a user from gaining access to the encrypted passwords. While the /etc/passwd file is available to anyone who can log in to a system, only superuser or an equivalent role can read the /etc/shadow file. You can use the passwd command to change a user's password on a local system.
If your network uses NIS to authenticate users, password information is kept in the NIS password map. NIS does not support password aging. You can use the command passwd -r nis to change a user's password that is stored in an NIS password map.
If your network uses NIS+ to authenticate users, password information is kept in the NIS+ database. Information in the NIS+ database can be protected by restricting access to authorized users only. You can use the passwd -r nisplus command to change a user's password that is stored in an NIS+ database.
The Solaris LDAP naming service stores password information and shadow information in the ou=people container of the LDAP directory tree. On the Solaris LDAP naming service client, you can use the passwd -r ldap command to change a user's password. The LDAP naming service stores the password in the LDAP repository.
Password policy is enforced on the Sun Java System Directory Server. Specifically, the client's pam_ldap module follows the password policy controls that are enforced on the Sun Java System Directory Server. For more information, see LDAP Naming Services Security Model in System Administration Guide: Naming and Directory Services (DNS, NIS, and LDAP).