Tech Tips / Windows NT / Security

Secure the Administrator account

One of the most important user accounts in any network is the Administrator account. Users that can access this account can pretty much do anything they darn well please. You definitely don't want this account falling into the hands of intruders or other unauthorized personnel. So what can you do to secure it?

First, use a strong password. By strong password, we mean really strong. Your password should include numbers, uppercase and lowercase letters, and special signs (e.g., $, #, etc.). Special signs are important because some password cracking programs don't check them, and thus can't crack passwords that contain them.

You should also pay attention to what your password doesn't contain. It shouldn't:

  • Include any dates that reference your personal life (for example, your birthday).
  • Include any of your nicknames.
  • Include historical dates and/or events.
  • Include your username.
  • Be similar to the preceding five passwords.

Second, rename your administrative account. A lot of admins also create a fake account and name it Administrator. Then you can keep an eye on this account to see if anyone is trying to gain access to it. (Make sure you don't give any privileges to this fake account.)

To further secure your administrative account, you can also limit it to allow logons only from the console (not over the network). If intruders get by the password, they still won't be able to connect remotely to your computers; they'd have to have physical access to the machine.

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