In today's internet environment, it has become more important than ever to take steps towards keeping your personal information safe and secure. One of the easiest ways to avoid online exploitation is to improve your password security.

How to create strong passwords:
Strong passwords have these characteristics:

  • They do not contain elements of your username
  • They do not contain elements of your personal information like names of family members, your birth date, address, phone number, or Social Security Number
  • They do not contain contain obvious phrasing like, "password," or "12345."
  • They are easy for you to remember, but they are hard for others to guess.
  • They mix uppercase and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols (like $%#!)
  • They are longer than 15 characters

What is a passphrase?
A passphrase is a unique combination of words, numbers, and symbols that are easy and familiar to you but obscure to anyone attempting to guess it. Passphrases tend to be longer than a password, which also increases their native security. We encourage users to begin moving toward passphrases and away from passwords. Here is an example of how to create a passphrase.
Start with a phrase that is familiar - I love to ice skate in winter!
Edit that phrase to make it more secure - Iluv2icesk8Nwintr!

Here is another example:
Phrase - Chocolate is the best
Passphrase - ch0c0l8izDaBe$t

Password Protection
Here are some pointers on how to keep your password safe through every-day practice:

  • You should NEVER send your password in an email. The WCU IT Office will never ask you to provide your password or username in an email, and no other reputable business or individual will either.
  • Do not keep your password written down in an easy-to-find location. This includes sticky notes on your desk, cards taped to your monitor, or notepads in a drawer of your desk.
  • Do not tell other people your password. Your password is just that, YOURS. If you are a faculty or staff member, remember that your password likely allows access to information that is protected by FERPA regulations.

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