Is your Panther password really secure?

macosxhints: Fix password security in 10.3.x for upgraded accounts. A useful, and slightly scary, hint that points to some lingering issues in password handling in OS X. Briefly: old versions of the OS, from the public beta through 10.2.x, only allow passwords up to 8 characters in length, but the OS would silently accept any additional characters both at password creation and password entry time. Your password entry only had to match through the first 8 characters to be successful.

Panther (10.3.x) now allows much stronger passwords and uses all the characters, which is good; however, upgraded users are still authenticated under the old, weaker scheme. The hint provides a way to check which scheme is being used to authenticate your password and points out that changing your password in Preferences / Accounts is sufficient to change the scheme—even if you “change” your password to the exact same value it was before.