Today, I thought I'd go over a simple shell script that runs on both Linux and Unix (hopefully, pretty much any flavor) to wrap a popular password cracking program called John The Ripper, JTR from here on out, which you can download directly from this page, if you're not already using it.
JTR is something I've used almost everywhere I've worked, whether or not a separate security department existed. It seems that a lot of companies are moving away from the individual Unix and Linux shell based programs and spending all their money on graphical tools that work on the entire network but end up causing more problems than they resolve. If you're a sysadmin, you know that, when the GUI breaks, the problems always come back to you anyway :P
For the above-mentioned reason, I wrote this script (for Solaris Unix and Redhat Linux primarily) to make sure that I, and any of my co-workers, could at least have a pulse on the state of security insofar as it relates to user account passwords.