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Note: Many topics at this site are reduced versions of the text in "The Encyclopedia of Networking and Telecommunications." Search results will not be as extensive as a search of the book's CD-ROM.

User accounts are fundamental to the security of information systems. Most network operating systems such as Windows NT, NetWare, and others require that users have an account. If a person is not assigned a specific account, access is often allowed through a guest account or with an anonymous user account. For example, your access to Web sites on the Internet is through anonymous user accounts at the site that do not require a logon name or password.

The user account holds information such as username, user information, logon restrictions to the network, and other information. Network administrators control user access by either changing values in individual user accounts or by setting global controls for all users or groups of users. For example, an administrator can disable an account while a user is on vacation or stop access to that account if illegal activities are taking place. Time limits can be assigned to accounts in the case of temporary employees. An account can also be configured so that user logons are restricted to certain hours of the day (say, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) or to a specific computer.

User accounts may also hold general information, such as the address of the user's workstation, phone number, or department name. In a directory services system like NDS (Novell Directory Services), user accounts appear as objects in the directory tree. Other users can scan through the directory tree, select a user, and view information about that user unless security restrictions prevent such access.

This topic continues in "The Encyclopedia of Networking and Telecommunications" with the following topics:

  • Information about user accounts in UNIX
  • Information about user accounts in Windows NT/Windows 2000


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