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Choose a Strong Password

Use these tips to select a password and then visit the online tool to see how strong that password is.

  1. Avoid using any word in the dictionary (these are easily cracked by brute force methods)

  2. Use different passwords for different resources (see how you can easily keep track of your passwords)

  3. The longer, the better. Passwords should be at least 8 characters, but more is better.

  4. Use upper- and lower-case, numbers and letters, and special characters (!@#$%^&*)

  5. Increase the complexity of the password by substituting numbers for letters (the number 0 for the letter O, ! for l, etc.)

  6. Choose a password you can remember, but others can't guess. Here's one strategy on how to create an easy to remember but difficult to guess password:

    1. Think of your favorite song (for this example, we'll use "Rosalita", by Bruce Springsteen)

    2. From that song, choose a lyric you know (from "Rosalita", Rosalita, jump a little higher, senorita come sit by my fire)

    3. Take the first letter from each word - Rjalhscsbmf

    4. Using the online password checker tool (see link below), Rjalhscsbmf is judged a "medium" strength password.

    5. Let's add some characters to make the password stronger. To help in remembering the where these extra character are, we'll insert them in the pauses of the song. R!jalh^s!csbmf

    6. Adding those 3 characters improved the password to the "Best" level.

  7. Change your password often. If you suspect someone may have learned your password, don't hesitate to change it.