Configure Password Complexity

Passwords are an important part of your network security strategy. They provide critical front-line protection for your computer systems and help prevent attacks and unauthorized access to private information.

Password policies, designed to enhance the security of corporate networks, vary depending on the industry, corporate requirements, and regulations. Because of these password policy variations, NetWitness software allows you to configure the password complexity requirements for internal NetWitness users to conform to your corporate password policy guidelines.

Password complexity requirements apply only to internal users and are not enforced for external users. External users rely on their own methods and systems to enforce password complexity.

In addition, you can set a global default user expiration period and determine if and when internal users receive notification that their passwords are about to expire. The password expiration notification consists of a password expiration message when a user logs on to NetWitness.

Password Strength

Strong passwords make it more difficult for attackers to guess user passwords and help prevent unauthorized access to your organization's network. You can define the appropriate level of password strength for your NetWitness users. When you configure the password strength settings, they apply to internal NetWitness users, including the admin user.

You can choose to enforce any combination of the following password strength requirements when a NetWitness user creates or changes their password:

  • Minimum password length
  • Minimum number of uppercase characters
  • Minimum number of lowercase characters
  • Minimum number of decimals (0 through 9)
  • Minimum number of special characters
  • Minimum number of non-Latin alphabetic characters (includes Unicode characters from Asian languages)
  • Whether or not the password can contain the username

For example, you can create a strong password requirement that has a minimum of 9 characters, cannot contain the username of the user, and contains a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.

If you choose to enforce a minimum number of non-Latin alphabetic characters, ensure that your users have these characters available to them when setting their passwords.

For an example of a strong password policy, see the "STIG Compliant Passwords" in the System Maintenance Guide.

Configure Password Strength

  1. In NetWitness, go to netwitness_adminicon_25x22.png (Admin) > Security.
    The Security view is displayed with the Users tab open.
  2. Click the Settings tab.
  3. In the Password Settings section, select the password complexity requirements to enforce when NetWitness users set their passwords and specify the minimum characters required, if applicable. Set the value to 0 for requirements you do not want to enforce, except for Minimum Password Length, which has a minimum value of 9 characters.

Note: In 11.2 and previous versions, the minimum password length is 8. Hence, on upgrade or update from previous versions to 11.3, you must set the minimum password length to 9 characters.

Requirement Description
Password will expire after <n> days The default number of days before a password expires for all internal NetWitness users. A value of zero (0) disables password expiration. For new installations, the default value is 30. For upgrades, the previous value will migrate automatically to the upgraded installation.
Users will be notified <n> days prior to password expiring The number of days before the password expiration date, to notify a user that their password is about to expire. Users see a Password Expiration Message dialog when they log on to NetWitness. The minimum value is 1 day.
Minimum Password Length Specifies a minimum password length. A minimum password length prevents users from using short passwords that are easy to guess. There is a minimum password length of 9 characters required by default.

Note: In Version 11.2 and earlier versions, the minimum password length is 8. In Version 11.3, the minimum password length changed to 9. On upgrade or update from earlier versions to Version 11.3, users can still create a password with 8 characters until you explicitly set the minimum password length to 9 characters.

Uppercase Specifies a minimum number of uppercase characters for the password. This includes European language characters A through Z, with diacritic marks, Greek characters, and Cyrillic characters. For example:
  • Cyrillic uppercase: Д Ц
  • Greek uppercase: Π Λ
Lowercase Specifies a minimum number of lowercase characters for the password. This includes European language characters a through z, sharp-s, with diacritic marks, Greek characters, and Cyrillic characters. For example:
  • Cyrillic lowercase: д ц
  • Greek lowercase: π λ
Decimal Digits Specifies a minimum number of decimal characters (0 through 9) for the password.
Special (~!@#$%^&*_-+=`|'(){}[]:;<>,".?/) Specifies a minimum number of special characters for the password:
Non-Latin Alphabetic Specifies a minimum number of Unicode alphabetic characters that are not uppercase or lowercase. This includes Unicode characters from Asian languages. For example:
  • Kanji (Japanese): 頁 (leaf) 枒 (tree)
Password May Not Contain Username Specifies that a password cannot contain the case-insensitive username of the user.
  1. If you want your password policy changes to take effect at the next login instead of the next password change, select Force all internal users to change their passwords on the next login. Note that this setting is selected by default.
  2. Click Apply.
    The password strength settings take effect when internal users create or change their passwords. If you selected Force all internal users to change their passwords on the next login, all internal users must change their password the next time they log on to NetWitness.