Think Before You Type

A comic illustration of a person realizing their password has been comprised.If a hacker gets your password, they have the key to steal your identity. Before you type in your password online, think: "Is my password secure?" Consider these statistics:

  • 8-character passwords can be cracked in two hours.
  • 10-character passwords can be cracked in a few days.
  • 12-character passwords may take years to break.

In addition to using at least a 12-character password, there are a number of simple things that you can do to protect yourself and strengthen your password.

  • Never write your password down.
  • Never share your password with anyone (including the I.T. Help Desk).
  • Create a different password for each account.
  • Use a password vault to secure all your passwords (see Password Vaults below). 
  • Avoid using personal information such as names of people or pets, birthdays, or telephone numbers.
  • Create a passphrase (see Use a Passphrase below for examples).
  • Use misspelled words.
  • Use a mixture of upper and lowercase letters.
  • Use numbers in positions other than the first or last character.
  • Use punctuation marks or symbols (!, #, %, $) independently or as a replacement for a letter.

Use a Passphrase

Passphrases are an easy way to create strong passwords that are easy to remember. For example, you can string together three unrelated words, like roof-panda-pear. Or, think of a 12 or more word phrase and take the first letter of each word to make a password (e.g. Don't be a feather in the wind, take ownership of your life, dbafitwtooyl).

Use a Password Vault

To manage multiple passwords, consider using a free encrypted password vault such as KeePass, LastPass or OnePassword to keep your passwords secure. Visit the websites, listed below, for additional information regarding these products.

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