Security is of paramount priority with a dedicated server. One of the easiest ways to tighten your server’s security is to use complex, difficult-to-guess passwords. While you could take pains trying to come up with random passwords that are actually secure, there is software that can assist you in the process.
APG or Automated Password Generator is a small Linux program that allows you to create random, secure passwords, right from your server’s secure shell (SSH). Many Linux distributions have APG in their software repositories. Simply install it, and it is ready for use.
To use the default settings, just type “apg” from the command line. It will open a prompt that looks like this:
Please enter some random data (only first 8 are significant)
(eg. your old password):>
You can literally type eight random characters or the password you have been using. It will not display the text as you type. Press Enter, and apg will quickly generate six passwords, along with their pronunciations. They are pronounceable passwords, but they are not real words, making them easy to remember, yet more secure. The output will look like:
If you do not want pronounceable passwords, use the “-a” flag and add a “1” to the end of it:
apg -a 1
In this case, the output will look like:
With the command-line flags, you can specify other settings, such as the minimum password length (-min_pass_len) and the mode (-M), which determines the types of characters allowed. For complete documentation, type “man apg” from the command line. APG is free and open source software, available for download from the project’s website for Linux and many Unix variants.