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How Password scoring works: Your password will be checked for complexity against the guidelines below (See Suggestions). In addition, your password will also be checked against a hacking dictionary containing commonly used passwords and keystroke combinations.

Please note that it's never a good idea to send your password to someone you don't know.

All users of information resources are responsible for assisting in the protection of the systems they use. Many intruders enter systems simply by guessing passwords and even the best passwords can eventually be defeated mathematically, given enough time. The use of strong passwords acts as a firm deterrent against password guessing attacks, and buys additional time against other attacks.

  • DO use a password with mixed-case letters. Use uppercase letters throughout the password.
  • DO NOT use a network login ID in any form (reversed, capitalized, or doubled as a password).

  • DO use a password that contains alphanumeric characters and include punctuation, where supported by the operating system.  
  • DO NOT use your first, middle or last name or anyone else’s in any form. Do not use your initials or any nicknames you may have or anyone else’s.  
  • DO use a password with mixed-case letters. Do not just capitalize the first letter, but add uppercase letters throughout the password.  
  • DO NOT use a word contained in English or foreign dictionaries, spelling lists, or other word lists and abbreviations.  
  • DO use at least eight characters, ten characters for More secure.  
  • DO NOT use other information easily obtained about you. This includes pet names, license plate numbers, telephone numbers, identification numbers, the brand of your automobile, the name of the street you live on, and so on. Such passwords are very easily guessed by someone who knows the user.  
  • DO use a seemingly random selection of letters and numbers.  
  • DO NOT use a password of all numbers, or a password composed of alphabet characters. Mix numbers and letters.  
  • DO use a password that can be typed quickly, without having to look at the keyboard. This makes it harder for someone to steal your password by looking at your keyboard (also known as "shoulder surfing").  
  • DO NOT use dates e.g., September, SEPT1999 or any combination thereof.  
  • Avoid dictionary words in any language. Criminals use sophisticated tools that can rapidly guess passwords that are based on words in multiple dictionaries, including words spelled backwards, common misspellings, and substitutions. This includes all sorts of profanity and any word you would not say in front of your children.
  • DO change passwords regularly. The more critical an account to network integrity (such as root on a Unix host or Administrator on Windows OS/Server), the more frequently the password should be changed. This change stops someone who has already compromised an account from continued access.
  • DO NOT use keyboard sequences, e.g., qwerty.
    Avoid sequences or repeated characters. "12345678," "222222," "abcdefg," or adjacent letters on your keyboard do not help make secure passwords.  

  • Avoid using only look-alike substitutions of numbers or symbols. Criminals and other malicious users who know enough to try and crack your password will not be fooled by common look-alike replacements, such as to replace an 'i' with a '1' or an 'a' with '@' as in "M1cr0$0ft" or "P@ssw0rd". But these substitutions can be effective when combined with other measures, such as length, misspellings, or variations in case, to improve the strength of your password.
  • Do not type passwords on computers that you do not control. Computers such as those in Internet caf├ęs, computer labs, shared systems, kiosk systems, conferences, and airport lounges should be considered unsafe for any personal use other than anonymous Internet browsing. Do not use these computers to check online e-mail, chat rooms, bank balances, business mail, or any other account that requires a user name and password. Criminals can purchase keystroke logging devices for very little money and they take only a few moments to install. These devices let malicious users harvest all the information typed on a computer from across the Internetyour passwords and pass phrases are worth as much as the information that they protect.
  • DO NOT use a sample password, no matter how good, that you’ve gotten from a book that discusses information and computer security.  
  • DO NOT use any of the above things spelled backwards, or in caps, or otherwise disguised.  
  • DO NOT write a password on sticky notes, desk blotters, calendars, or store it online where it can be accessed by others.   
  • DO NOT use shared accounts. Accountability for group access is extremely difficult.  
  • DO NOT reveal a password to anyone.  


Common suggestions for constructing seemingly random passwords are:

1.   Use the first letter of each word from a line in a book, song, or poem. For example: "Who ya gonna call? Ghost Busters!" would  produce "Wygc?GB!”

2.     Start designing the password with a memorable meaningful phrase..then make it complex by adding numbers and special characters. Here is how you do it:
1. Pick a word or multi-word phrase that is meaningful to you.
2. Mix one or two letters to be upper case.
3. Then change one or two letters to be numbers.
4. Then for the sneaky twist: insert one or two non-alphabetic characters. The beginning or end of the password is easiest for memorization purposes. Examples include: .(period), !, *, %, &, or #.
Example : ILoveMyPiano1!

3.      Use two short words connected by punctuation, e.g., T1me#0ff

4.      Use numbers and letters to create an imaginary vanity license plate password, e.g., 1H8work!

A common theme of these suggestions is that the password should be easy to remember. Avoid passwords that must be written down to be remembered. If unrecallable, someone in your office may find the password you have written down, and compromise your network identity.