First of all thanks lot for responding - especially considering how simple the issue is especially for a Linux Admin like you.
I checked my keyboard and replaced it and the problem was resolved. What a relief:-) I was about to post an update and saw your reply. Thank you very much once again.
I also want to thank the entire CentOS team for such a nice and stable product. Being a newbie, I have had to read and use trial and error quite a bit but CentOS has been very stable and good so far. With this one issue, I was worried today and started checking RHEL license costs. I am grateful to all@CentOS that I don't have to go that route now:-)
I got a little paranoid because, I connect to my server over internet a lot and I have disabled selinux and disabled the firewall on some ports so the machine is accessible via port forwarding. As mentioned in my earlier post, I recently installed Drupal/PHP and having read somewhere that PHP has got security vulnerabilities - I know a hacker probably is going to gain nothing by hacking into my small server but if that happens a lot of my time/sweat would go waste - so was a bit concerned.
Having got over my inertia to ask in this forum, I would like to take this opportunity to ask the other question that I have always wanted to ask. What are the security precautions that someone using a set up like the one mentioned above should take. To summarize the environment:
1) selinux is disabled
2) port forwarding is used from modem to router to machine
3) firewall is disabled on ssh port, cvs(2401 I think), mysql(3306), samba, and some http ports(80XX and 90XX)
This is a different question so I can create a new topic if required.
Finally thanks again to Trevor and the entire CentOS team for such a well maintained and stable product. You guys are truly amazing.