5.2.3 Ensure Complex Password Must Contain Alphabetic Characters Is Configured


Complex passwords contain one character from each of the following classes: English uppercase letters, English lowercase letters, Westernized Arabic numerals, and non-alphanumeric characters.

Ensure that an Alphabetic character is part of the password policy on the computer.


The more complex a password, the more resistant it will be against persons seeking unauthorized access to a system.


Password policy should be in effect to reduce the risk of exposed services being compromised easily through dictionary attacks or other social engineering attempts.


Terminal Method:
Run the following command to set the that passwords must contain at least one letter:

$ /usr/bin/sudo /usr/bin/pwpolicy -n /Local/Default -setglobalpolicy -setaccountpolicies 'requiresAlpha=<value>=1>'


$ /usr/bin/sudo /usr/bin/pwpolicy -n /Local/Default -setglobalpolicy 'requiresAlpha=1'

Profile Method:
Create or edit a configuration profile with the following information:

The PayloadType string is com.apple.mobiledevice.passwordpolicy

The key to include is requireAlphanumeric

The key must be set to <true/>

Note: This profile sets a requirement of both an alphabetical and a numeric character.
Note: The profile method is the preferred method for setting password policy since -setglobalpolicy in pwpolicy is deprecated and will likely be removed in a future macOS release.

Additional Information:

Note: The CIS macOS community has decided to not require the additional password complexity settings (Recommendations 5.3 - 5.6). Because of that, we have left the complexity recommendations as a manual assessment. Since there are a large amount of admins in the greater macOS world that do need these settings, we include both the guidance for the proper setting as well as probes for CIS-CAT to test.

See Also


Item Details


References: 800-53|IA-5(1), CSCv7|4.4

Plugin: Unix

Control ID: 2e1a9784abd75e8fd31ea8e4dc3f23b9bf8d75327465dd84561cf637b2acb28a