How can I make my password secure?

Passwords are a tedious but necessary part of our online experience.  We have put together a list of guidelines to help you come up with a secure password.  It is important that your password is something that you can remember, but is difficult for someone to guess.

Having a password that is easy to guess is equivalent to locking your door and leaving the key under the doormat.  Without even resorting to any specialized tools, a hacker can discover your basic personal information, such as name, children’s names, birth dates, pets’ names, etc., and try all of those as potential passwords.

When creating a password, follow these guidelines:

  1. Do not use personal information. You should never use personal information as a part of your password. It is very easy for someone to find your last name, pet’s name, child’s birth date and other similar details.
  2. Do not use real words. There are tools available to help attackers guess your password. With today’s computing power, it doesn’t take long to try every word in the dictionary and find your password, so it is best if you do not use real words for your password.
  3. Mix uppercase and lowercase. Passwords are case-sensitive, meaning that an uppercase “T” is different than a lowercase “t.” Having both uppercase and lowercase will make it harder for a hacker to guess your password.
  4. Include numbers in your password. Adding numbers to your password increases the complexity.
  5. Add special characters such as ‘&’ or ‘%.’ Adding special characters can make passwords much more difficult to crack.

Tips for keeping your password safe:

  1. Set your Secret Questions in WUSTL Connect. Be sure that the answers to your secret questions are not easy to guess.
  2. Do not store your password in a browser on shared computers.
  3. Do not share your password.  Sharing your password with others will enable them to access your personal information.  It is your responsibility to protect your information by NOT sharing your WUSTL Key password with anyone.

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