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Managing Your Campus Password
This document describes managing your password
Passwords can be the weakest link in a computer security scheme. Strong passwords are increasingly important because password cracking tools continue to improve, and the computers used to crack passwords are more powerful than ever. Network passwords that once took weeks to crack can now be cracked in a matter of hours or even minutes.
Once someone has your password, they have the same authority as you to your data, email, and campus systems. For example, they can delete your files, drop your classes if you're a student, change grades if you're faculty, access social security numbers or other privileged data if you're a data custodian, etc. They can also use your computer to impersonate you, send spam, or spread viruses.
Since complex passwords are more difficult to remember, we recommend the use of pass phrases. This technique involves choosing a phrase or short verse that is familiar to you (with spaces), and then adding capitalization, punctuation, and numbers that you can easily recall.
Examples of Pass Phrases
Mother turns sixty5 in March*
Auntie Matilda is 50 and fabulous!
My eldest son's name is Matt in 6th grade
Another password technique involves creating a “vanity plate” password such as the following.
The phrase 'Hard to Crack' becomes Hard2Cr@ck!!!!
'Eight Days a Week' becomes 8Days@Week^&^&
'Let’s Stay Together' becomes Let'sSTA2Gtr...
The key is to make it simple enough that you don’t have to think too hard about where you abbreviated a word or inserted a symbol.
You might also use mnemonics to create a password. . In high school, you may have used the mnemonic “My Very Easy Memory Jingle Seems Useful Naming Planets” to remember the planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. This could become MVemjsunandP9 after adding some capitalization and the number 9 (for nine planets).
Weak Password Characteristics
- The password is a word found in a dictionary (English or foreign) or a word in any language, slang, dialect, jargon, etc.
- The password is the same as your user name or login name.
- The password is a common usage word such as names of family, pets, friends, computer terms, birthdays or other personal information, or number patterns like aaabbb, dddddd, qwerty, zyxwvuts, 123321, etc.
- Any of the above spelled backwards.
- Any of the above preceded or followed by a digit (e.g., secret1, 1secret).
Keeping Your Password Secure
- Don't reveal a password over the phone or in person to anyone. This includes your boss, your family, and your co-workers.
- Don't reveal a password in an email message.
- Don't talk about a password in front of others.
- Don't hint at the format of a password (e.g., "my family's name").
- Don't reveal a password on questionnaires or security forms.
- Avoid writing passwords down. If you must, store them in a secure place (e.g., a locked file cabinet).
- Passwords should never be stored digitally in an unencrypted format.
- Do not use the "Remember Password" feature of applications (e.g., Eudora, Outlook, Netscape Messenger).
- Don't use the default password, if one is provided. Change it immediately to a new, stronger password.
- Use unique passwords for personal and home use that are different from your UWGB network password. These may be further segmented as follows:
- A separate password for highly sensitive personal/financial web sites such as bank accounts, stock accounts or social security information (e.g., Fidelity)
- A separate password for routine e-commerce sites (e.g., Amazon, eBay)
- A separate password for lower-risk web sites such as those only requiring registration with no financial obligations (e.g., New York Times)
Trouble with Your Password? Contact the CIT Help Desk at (920) 465-2309 or email@example.com.