Information Security Office

Choosing a Secure Password

A secure password is one of the most important ways to help protect your computer and personal information. Although the goal to make passwords difficult for others to figure out, creating strong passwords is pretty simple and straightforward. Use the following tips to protect your accounts from unwanted access.

Always make your passwords long. 

Use more than just letters in your passwords. 

Do not use personal information! 

Avoid using words in standard dictionaries. 

Avoid using words using keys that are close together. 

Change your password regularly. 

Store your password in a secure place (ideally in your head.) 

Suggestions to help you choose a secure password 

 Always make your passwords long.

Passwords should be a minimum of eight characters or longer if possible. In general, the longer the password, the better.

 Use more than just letters in your passwords.

Use various numbers, symbols, and punctuation when possible. Also try to mix upper case and lower case letters. This also increases the strength of the password.

 Do not use personal information!

Your name, spouse's name, kids names, dog's name, mom or dad's name, high school, hometown, ...you get the idea. Many of these may be found on the Internet. Use things that are truly unrelated to you.

 Avoid using words in standard dictionaries.

There are programs out that can go through a dictionary and try every word as your password. This includes foreign language dictionaries.

 Avoid using words using keys that are close together.

Words like qwerty, tryout, 12345, and hhhhh should all be off limits. These are easy for someone to pick out if they happen to glance over your shoulder while you are typing your password.

 Change your password regularly.

Changing your password once a month is a good habit to start. This will keep hackers on their toes and keep someone from being able to access your account if by some means they have acquired your previous password.

 Store your password in a secure place (ideally in your head.)

In your wallet, under a keyboard, on your dorm dresser, these are all terrible places to keep your "secure" password. The most secure place to keep your password, is in your head. If you must write it down though, put it in a place that will be locked up, and difficult to find.

 Here are some suggestions to help you choose a secure password:

Use off-the-wall words & phrases.

Shark_batE (notice the capitalization and underscore)

Put words inside of words.

WOcenterRD

Flip words and put in different places.

esAb.bAll

Misspell words on purpose.

TOeTALLY

Use the first letters in a phrase.

IsIpC. ( Information Security Is Pretty Cool .)

Use visually similar characters.

Change S to $ or 5, Change O to zero, Change I to one, Change Z to 2, change G to 6, change g to 9, change B to 8.

Example phrase: "Protecting information at BGSU!"  Pia86$U!