Password Tips and Policy

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Password Policy

Choosing a strong password is an important part of protecting your access to University information technology resources.

Northwestern Health Sceinces University has a formal Password Policy that requires you to create passwords using the following criteria:

Passwords chosen must:

  • Be a minimum of ten (x) characters in length
  • Be memorized; if a password is written down it must be secure
  • Contain at least one (1) character from three (3) of the following categories:
    • Uppercase letter (A-Z)
    • Lowercase letter (a-z)
    • Digit (0-9)
    • Special character (~`!@#$%^&*()+=_-{}[]\|:;”’?/<>,.)
  • Be private

Passwords Chosen must not:

  • Contain a common proper name, login ID, email address, initials, first, middle or last name

It is strongly recommended that:

  • Passwords are changed twice per year
  • Each password chosen is new and different

Password Tips

Poor, or weak, passwords have the following characteristics:  Contain less than eight characters.  Can be found in a dictionary, including foreign language, or exist in a language slang, dialect, or jargon.

 

 
  • Contain personal information such as birthdates, addresses, phone numbers, or names of family members, pets, friends, and fantasy characters. 
  • Contain work-related information such as building names, system commands, sites, companies, hardware, or software. 
  • Contain number patterns such as aaabbb, qwerty, zyxwvuts, or 123321. 
  • Contain common words spelled backward, or preceded or followed by a number (for example, terces, secret1 or 1secret).  Are some version of “Welcome123” “Password123” “Changeme123”

You should never write down a password. Instead, try to create passwords that you can remember easily. One way to do this is create a password based on a song title, affirmation, or other phrase. For example, the phrase, "This May Be One Way To Remember" could become the password TmB1w2R! or another variation.

(NOTE: Do not use either of these examples as passwords!)

A passphrase is similar to a password in use; however, it is relatively long and constructed of multiple words, which provides greater security against dictionary attacks. Strong passphrases should follow the general password construction guidelines to include upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.

 

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