Choosing a Safe Password

ICT Services Secure IT Choosing a Safe Password

A good password is critical to securing your online information, though the process can seem a bit daunting. Choosing a suitable password is a fairly straightforward process, if you keep the following in mind:

DO

  • Choose “Strong Passwords” - these have 8 characters or more, contain a combination of upper/lower case, special characters and numbers if the system permits.

  • Use a different password for each service (i.e. JCU, Gmail, Dropbox, iTunes etc.)

  • Use a passphrase where you can, because length is more secure than complexity.

  • Use more than 6 numbers in a pin number or passcode.

DON’T

  • Use simple or dictionary words (e.g. Password, Townsville123).

  • Write your password on a post-it note and stick it to your monitor.

  • Use easily guessable words (e.g. phone numbers, Date of Birth).

  • Tell anyone your password – this includes IT Staff!

ICT advises that you use a passphrase rather than a password for your JCU accounts. A passphrase is simply a phrase or sentence that you use, instead of a word or set of characters.

If there is no limit on a password length, use a passphrase. e.g. "Europe is beautiful this time of year." However, if you have to pick a smaller password, just use the first letter of each word and swap some of the letters for numbers: "E1bTtof7”

JCU has NO maximum limit on passwords but for non-JCU accounts it is important to confirm the maximum number of characters allowed. If the system only allows an 8 character maximum, and your passphrase is "everyone loves chocolate cake for their birthday" your password will actually just be "everyone" and that's a dictionary word!

More Links:

JCU Changing your Password
AusCERT - Choosing Good Passwords
How Secure is My Password?
Make me a Password