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I have some machines with RHEL4 Nahant Update 6. Oddly, I found that passwords longer than 8 digits are not stored.

So if I had a password 1ABCDEa!, and I changed it to 1ABCDEa!1ABCDEa! I could still log in to the machine with the old password.

This machines use NIS authentication, but other machines with Red Hat 5 which use the same NIS server allow login ONLY with the NEW password (16 digits long...)!

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It could be using the older crypt algorithm rather than something newer like MD5 or Blowfish, for backwards compatibility. Doesn't really explain the 8-char/16-char discrepancy, but searching for "NIS" and "MD5" might help. –  Mikel Jan 19 '11 at 14:18
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There's a Red Hat KB article that discusses this.

https://access.redhat.com/kb/docs/DOC-2719

It requires a Red Hat account. The executive summary is to use PAM. The article also references this URL for further reading: http://www.puschitz.com/SecuringLinux.shtml#EnforcingStrongerPasswords

Edited to add: See also this thread http://stackoverflow.com/questions/2179649/are-passwords-on-modern-unix-linux-systems-still-limited-to-8-characters

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Thanks, I read this article before. I thought there is a way around it. But I think the solution they suggest does not work for me, because the server needs to be accessed via NIS, not PAM. –  Oz123 Jan 21 '11 at 7:33
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