Selecting a Strong Password

Choosing your password is an important step in securing access to your private information and files.  The best passwords do NOT use words found in a dictionary or proper names because these are easily cracked by automated programs that rely on the patterns found in words.

Instead, think of a phrase you find memorable which includes one or more numbers and just use the first letter of each word and the number.  In addition to one or more numbers be sure to include special characters, such as #, &, or %.  Make some of the letters capitals to make the password even better.  Another way to include numbers is to use a zero for the letter O, a one for the letter I or L, or a 3 for the letter E.

Example: My little dog Trixie had fleas in 06 & now She does not!  =   MldThfi06&nSdn!

A good password should:

  1. NOT contain all or part of your username, social security number, or birth date.
  2. Be at least 8 characters in length and over 14 characters long if you have something important to protect.
  3. Contain characters from:
    1. English uppercase characters (A through Z)
    2. English lowercase characters (a through z)
    3. Numeric characters (0 through 9)
    4. Special characters on your keyboard, such as %, #, or !, etc.

Protect your password or your accounts will be compromised.  Remember to:

  1. Never tell your password to anyone else.
  2. Never write a password down where it could be read by others.

NOTE: Students who have forgotten their password can contact Helpdesk at (931) 372-3975 (hours) or get assistance in person in either the Clement Hall 313 or JH214 PC labs.
Or call Operations from 8:00 am to 11:00 pm Monday through Friday at (931) 372-3388.

Portions of this page adapted from: http://www.sans.org/top20/#threats

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