Password Policy

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Construction warning.png Please note that this page is currently under construction. There is more information to come.


Overview

Password Policy is used to configure the password policies within SmartSimple with your organizational standards. It is best practice to ensure that these policies match the other systems deployed by your organization; consequently, these policies allow for extensive configuration options. 

Password Policies include the following:

  • The ability to control the length and complexity of passwords
  • The password expiration time period 
  • The password frequency usage 
  • The method for sending new requested passwords (via Email Templates) 
  • Word restrictions 
  • The number of retries allowed
  • The lockout time for the account if they exceed retry quota 
  • Email alerts for invalid passwords 

Multiple password policies can be supported by the system. This feature provides for less stringent policies for types of users that infrequently access the system - for example, External contacts who would only use the system for an application. Alternative password policies can be set for any level in the organization hierarchy

You can also set individual password policies for the different companies of your organization hierarchy. However, they will be able to edit the policy only, and not edit the the Activation Emails, which can only be configured from Global Settings by a user with System Administrator privileges

Note: In all cases of password policies, common words or known common passwords are ineligible to be used as SmartSimple passwords. 

Configuration - Essentials

How to Access the Password Settings

1. Click on the 9-square menu icon on the top right of your page.

052919 MenuIcon.png 

2. Under the heading Configuration, select Global Settings

3. Click on the tab labelled Security.

4. Click on the hyperlink called Password and Activation Policies.

A page displayed with numerous settings and tabs related to your system's password and activation policies will appear. On this page, you can modify the required complexities of passwords, email templates for activating users and setting passwords, disable inactive accounts, and more. 

General password activation policies.png 
Tab Name Overview of Features and Functionality
General Provides access to modify, configure, or enable/disable general password settings, the deactivation of inactive accounts, activation settings, password reset messages, and persistent login.
Activation Email Templates Allows modification and configuration of Email Templates for the following functions: New User, Request Password, and Password Change Notification. Can also set a default language and From Address. 
Intruder Alert Settings Allows modification of intruder settings, including the amount of retries, the lockout duration, and the content for an email alert when there is an intrusion.
Invalid Login Audit Provides a list of invalid logins by username, IP Address, and time for auditing and record-keeping purposes.
Locked Users Provides a list of locked users by name, Lockout Time, and the feature to directly set that user with a new password. 
Disabled Inactive Users Provides a list of disabled, inactive users by name and date of disabling. 

Password Encryption

For your information, if necessary: 

SmartSimple uses the SHA-256 algorithm, combined with salt hashing, in order to encrypt passwords.

Password Settings

This section, under the first tab of the Password and Activation Policies labelled General, is used to set password attributes. 

General password settings.png
Password Length The minimum length allowed for a password; the number inputted must be between 6 - 32 characters.
Complexity

Set the level of character-type complexity required for a password. The options are as follows: 

  • No Restriction - any character can be used; this is the default. 
  • Alpha Only - only letters are able to be used.
  • Alpha & Numeric - both letters and numbers must be used in the password.
  • Alpha & Numeric & Special Characters - a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters must be used. 
  • Custom Policy - a password policy can be custom-defined. 

Disable Restriction of Common Passwords - Toggling on this function will then enable the user's ability to use common passwords as their password. This is not recommended for security reasons, as common passwords are easier to guess and to enable security breaches. 

Force Password Change

Force New Password on First Login - This will ensure that each individual user will be forced to change their password from a system-generated or SysAdmin-determined password into one of their own accord. 

  • Note: This first login does not count towards the Maximum Password Update in 24 Hours setting. 


Expire All Passwords Now - This is a handy button that will immediately invalidate all passwords in the system, ensuring that each user will have to reset their passwords when they next log in. A good use-case of this function might be if you updated your password policy to require more complex passwords; by expiring all passwords, every user in your system will have to create new passwords that fall under the new password criteria. 

Password Expiration Each user will be forced to change their password once the selected number of days has passed. Doing so every quarter or so is good security practice; however, any number of days can be set. On each login, the system will check how many days until the password expires and will notify the user their password is about to expire in X days.
Password History Check You can set the number of previous passports (to a maximum of 32) that the system will remember for each user. When changing their password, users will not be permitted to re-use a previous password that is remembered by the Password History until the specified number of unique passwords have been used. 
Maximum Password Changes in 24 Hours

This will set the maximum number of password changes any individual user is able to make within a 24-hour period. This is to prevent users from bypassing the password history restriction by changing their password repeatedly in order to return to a previously used password.

  • This setting only pertains to password changes by use of Update Password by the user - it is not relevant to the Forgot Password link nor to the System Administrators ability to Set Password for users. 
Password Data Restriction

Configuring this setting will restrict password settings so that values such as first name, last name, or organization name cannot be used in the password. Any number of fields can be selected from both the Organization or the Contact Profile

Organization Field - Both standard and custom fields are supported. 

Contact Field - Both standard and custom fields are supported. 

Disable Inactive Accounts and Activation Settings

Scrolling down further on the General password settings page will bring you to the sections that allow you to set the criteria for disabling and activating accounts. 

User accounts can be configured to automatically become disabled after a predetermined period of inactivity. Once disabled, a password reset is required by the user to regain access to the system. This feature adds to the many user management options within the system.

Password disable and activate.png
Disable user accounts after days Insert the number of days a user account is inactive before it is disabled. In order to disable this feature, simply leave the field blank.
Apply Policy to All Sub-Companies

Click this button to force-update the password policy related to the current organization and all sub-companies. 

Note: This is applicable when an organization has a root organization, and one or more sub-companies each with its own password policies.

Disabled Inactive Account Message Write in the text that will be displayed when a user is attempting to access an expired account.
Enable reCAPTCHA Validation
Activation link life span

This function works with the @activationlink@ password variable. If the https://@url@@activationlink@ syntax is used in the Request Password section of email templates, this setting sets the duration that the activation link will be valid for the user in number of hours. 

  • Note: Best practice is to provide around 24 hours. Providing too little time will force you to continuously resend links as users will be more likely to forget to activate their accounts in time. 
Default Security Code This is a hard-coded value to be entered when users request new passwords.  For example, 12345. 
Challenge Questions, delimited by semi-colons

You can set a series of challenge questions through which all users will be prompted to select one upon next login. Their answer to that question will be stored in the system, and if they forget their password, they will be prompted to enter this answer and click the activation link in the Forgot Password email template

  • Note: The best challenge questions will have answers that are simple, memorable, not easy to guess, and will not change over time. 

Example of Challenge Questions: 

In what city or town was your first job?;
What is your mother's maiden name?;
What was your first pet's name?;
In what year was your father born? 

Password Reset Message

Even further down at the bottom of the General page of Password and Activation Policies are features relating to a Password Reset Message and Persistent Login. 

Password reset message custom.png 

In the text field box, write the content for the Reset Password message that a user will see if they need to reset their password. You may select between a default template or you may choose to make it custom. 

Persistent Login

Persistent login.png 

The Persistent Login functionality provides for the use of a persistent secure cookie on the SmartSimple user's computer to eliminate the need to use a username and password to log into the system.  Rather than having to log in to SmartSimple each time you open your web browser, a "cookie" can be installed on your computer that will automatically authenticate you, allowing you to bypass the login screen. (This setting can be enabled or disabled by your system administrator). In order for this feature to work, you must have the user's browser enabled to accept persistent cookies.

Rules for Password Activation Settings

When an organization has their password settings configured, then they will be used in full.

When an organization does not have their password settings configured, the system will go up the organization hierarchy until it finds a parent company with password settings configured, and by default it will allow the organization to inherit those settings. Example: If only the root organization has its password settings configured, all other organizations would inherit the same policies, as they all fall under the root organization on the organization hierarchy. 

  • Note: An organization will display informational text at the top saying that its password policies have not been configured until they are. 
For when a new user is sent their password for the first time
  • If the password activation settings have a default security code but no challenge questions, the user will be prompted to enter the default security code. 
  • If the password activation settings have a default security code and challenge questions, the user will be prompted to enter the default security code and then taken to a second screen to define an answer to one of the challenge questions. The user can then go their Profile and access the Change Password page to view and update their stored challenge question and answer.
  • The user will be presented with reCAPTCHA validation in all cases.
For when an existing user requests a new password
  • If the password activation settings have a default security code but no challenge questions, the user will be prompted to enter the default security code. 
  • If the password activation settings have a 'default security 'code and challenge questions, the user will only be prompted to answer a challenge question.
  • The user will be presented with reCAPTCHA validation in all cases. 

After a user has successfully completed the appropriate password activation process, they will be logged into that SmartSimple instance and their newly created password will become active. 

Custom Policy

  • The Compose Custom Password Policy table provides the ability to define the custom password policy that matches your organization's security standards and provides control of each character type desired (upper case, lower case, numeric and/or symbols). You can also specify the minimum number of characters required for that character type.
  • The character mask used to define your selection will appear in the Custom Password Policy field. You can also write your own code and paste it into this field if desired.
  • The Validate Pattern button will open a window where you can test various passwords against the policy to see if they will pass or fail.
  • The value in the Custom Password Policy Description field will be displayed to users when setting/changing their password. You can use plain text or html in this field (For example, to insert a line break use <br>)
  • Note: See also Custom Password Policy Examples

Custpwpolicy.png

Important: When defining a custom password policy be sure to provide a detailed description of the policy in the Custom Password Policy Description field so that users are aware of the minimum requirement to enable them to create a valid password.

If you need to translate the Custom Password Policy Description message you can use sslogic. It is often easiest to use System Variables for these. Example:

<!--@sslogic('@langid@'='2')--><br>@system.Password Policy - French@<!--@else--><br>@system.Password Policy@<!--@end-->

Intruder Lockout Settings and Intruder Email Alert

The third tab in Password and Activation Policies, called Intruder Alert Settings, will determine the actions that should be taken if someone attempts to log into your copy of SmartSimple but cannot provide accurate credentials.

Intruder alert settings new.png
Number of Attempts Enter a number from 1-32 that will denote the amount of times someone can attempt to log in with an account (that is, with an incorrect password) before that account is locked. 
Lockout Duration

Select from a number of options the duration of the account lockout. Within this period, the user will have no ability to log in, even if their credentials are correct. 

  • Options: 5 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 1 hour, 3 hours, 12 hours, 24 hours or Forever
  • Note: If the Forever option is selected for the lockout duration, the user will have no access to login until manually unlocked by the System Administrator 

The latter half of this page has the heading Intruder Email Alert - using a default template, it allows you to customize the email alert when someone has been locked out because of intruding attempts. 

Email From The From Address for the email alert. If you do not manually set this value, then the address donotreply@smartsimple.com will be used.
Email To

Select the Internal people to receive the email alert. Click the binoculars icon for a full list of internal staff, from which you can select who to send the email alert to.

Subject The subject of the email. 
Body Sample Template - Clicking this will populate the text window automatically with a template of what the email alert will contain. It will include System Variables

Intruder Alert Email Variables – because the user is not logged into the system, the amount of information available is limited to IP Address @ip@, the attempted username @username@ and date/time @now@ of the attempted login.

Locked Users

The Locked Users tab will display a list of all users that have had their account locked. 

Locked user lists.png

If a user is locked, you can click on the Set Password button on the View Locked Users tab to reactivate the account and send the user a new password.

Once an account has been locked for exceeding the number of permitted login attempts, it will remain on the Locked Users list until the correct password is entered. This allows the SysAdmin to see which users have been unable to log in, even if the configured lockout duration has passed and the account is no longer technically locked.

When an account has been locked for exceeding the number of permitted login attempts, after the lockout time has passed they are permitted only ONE attempt at the correct password. 

  • A single incorrect password at this point will re-lock the account for the configured lockout duration. 
  • This is a preventative measure so that would-be intruders do not have multiple attempts to guess the password each time the lockout duration has passed. 

Disabled Inactive Users

This function is only available from Global Settings > Security > Password and Activation Policies; it is not accessible from individual password policies for the different companies in your organization hierarchy

Disabled inactive users.png 

Similarly to the Locked Users 'tab, the Disabled Inactive 'Users tab will provide a list of all expired users in your system. Their accounts have expired as a result of inactivity and a disabling that can be configured after a certain amount of time (see Disable Inactive Accounts.

  • Once an account has been disabled as a result of overly long inactivity, the user will remain on this list until their password is reset. This allows the SysAdmin to see which users have had their accounts disabled because of inactivity.
  • If an inactive user is disabled, there will be a Send Password button next to their name on this tab - that way, you can reactive the account and send the user a new password with which they can log into the system.

Single Sign-On

For information on the Single Sign-On settings and functionality, please refer to the Single Sign-On page.

See Also