Oregon State University

Password Security

password securityIn order to keep your information secure you must keep your password secure. The following are not the only ways to keep your password secure, but they are a good start:

  • Use passphrases (see below).
  • Do not keep your password in open and public spaces (no sticky notes on your monitors!).
  • Change your password periodically.
  • Do not use the same password for everything.
  • If you think your password may have been compromised, change it immediately.
  • Never tell anyone your password.

Use a Passphrase Rather Than a Password

Passphrases are more secure than passwords because they are generally longer, making them less vulnerable to attack. They also allow you to remember your credentials, even when they expire frequently. The idea of a passphrase is to use a statement, or motto, rather than a word peppered with odd characters and symbols, as the latter can be difficult to dedicate to memory.

For instance, try:

  • A meaningful statement: "Carp3 Diem!"
  • Directions to a location: "Down Oak, 2nd on the Right"
  • A reference to what you're accessing: "Check1ng my Onid-Mail!" (NOTE: This is an awesome kind of passphrase, as you can customize it for any service you use, protecting your accounts from each other).
  • A catchy jingle: "I don't always use passwords, but when I do"

It is a good idea to add numbers/symbols in place of some letters for common passphrases. That way, it is harder for an outside user to guess your passphrase.

Now you have a password that's already in your memory, and you can recall this new passphrase with greater ease. Of course, you should avoid using passphrase without adding some special characters, as hackers can attack your account with commonly used statements or quotes.

Please Note: Some systems won't accept spaces in a passphrase, while others won't accept a large number of characters. You can contact the OSU Computer Helpdesk with any questions regarding passwords.

Contact Info

Copyright ©  2014 Oregon State University
Disclaimer