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Creating a Strong Password

Pick Passwords You Can Remember

Choose a password that you can remember so that you don’t need to keep looking it up. This reduces the chance of somebody discovering where you have it written down.

Select a phrase like:

  • Mary had a little lamb

Add a capital L, numbers and a special character to increase its strength:

  • Mary1had a Littlelamb.5

This phrase is easy to remember and more secure by: adding the numbers (1 and 5), capitalizing a letter (L), omitting a space (between Littlelamb), and including the special character(.).

Some other versions:

  • MaryhadalittleL
  • 2Mary hadalittle
  • MraywasabigLamb
  • M*a*r*yHad4little&lamb

Customize Your Password

If your password is derived from sources like a well known song, expression, or slogan, be sure to customize it with misspelling, numbers, special characters, mnemonics, made up words.

Use a mixture of upper and lower case letters.

Introduce silent characters into the word (i.e., Va7ni9lla) or intentionally misspell words (i.e., Choklutt – for chocolate).

Consider including the following in your password:

  • embedded extra characters in a word
  • special characters
  • misspelled words (i.e., buckarew or bonzaye)
  • unusual capitalization (i.e., capitalizing first letter of words, all but first letters…)
  • concatenation of two or more words or parts of words
  • one word in the middle of another, or interleave the letters of two words

Avoid Confidential Information

Do not use any personal identification type of information (i.e., social security number, date of birth, username, account name, computer name, or email address) in your passwords.

Do not include:

  • your name or the name of anyone close to you (including pets)
  • the name of the operating system you’re using
  • the hostname of your computer
  • your phone number
  • your license plate number
  • any part of your social security number
  • your birthday or the birthday of anyone close to you
  • other information that is easily obtained about you
  • any username on the computer in any form (as is, capitalized, etc)
  • passphrases of all the same letter
  • simple patterns on the keyboard