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Password tips

Passwords are an important aspect of computer security. They provide protection for your online user accounts. Simple passwords may mean a breach of your security resulting in the theft of your user accounts. If someone else determines your password, he can effectively assume your electronic identity.

Examples of obvious simple passwords:

  • Password
  • Guest
  • User
  • Admin
  • Pat1234

Developing a complex password will provide the best defense against breaches in the security of your online accounts. It is tempting to pick something easy to remember. However, hackers use password cracking programs that can rapidly find a password match.

Here are some guidelines for choosing strong, complex passwords:

  • A minimum character length (depends on systems being accessed)
  • Contains a mix of upper and lower case letters
  • Includes numerals, special characters, and punctuation
  • Is not based on personal information
  • Is not based on any dictionary word

Examples of complex passwords:

  • Use more than one word (SaorilikesTurtles, AnriandDog)
  • Use a combination of special characters and letters (Allison = @ll!s0n)
  • Choose events or people that are on your mind (my eye hurts = MyE6eHuRt$)
  • Use phonetics in words (Want to dance? = R0ndaDan$?)
  • Lengthy passwords
  • Use first letters of a phrase (My son Luke is in the Coast Guard in DC = MsL$inCGdc)

Important things to remember when creating passwords:

  • They have meaning for you (so you will remember them!)
  • Don't write them down
  • Don't create new passwords that are significantly similar to ones you have previously used
  • Never use names of family members or pets, your date of birth, or your social security number. Such information may be public and should not be used in a password.
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