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Passwords & Passphrases

With technological advances, it's relatively easy for computers to guess passwords. Commercial tools exist that claim to test up to 2.8 billion passwords per second using just a standard desktop computer. Protect yourself with these password/passphrase tips.

A Strong Password (at least 12 characters) or Passphrase (at least 20 characters):

  • Includes a combination of upper and lowercase alphabetic characters, symbols, and numbers
    • accepted symbols for EKU systems include: ! @ # $ %
  • Is changed regularly-IT recommends changing passwords every ninety days
  • Is significantly different than the last password used


  • All or part of your name, username, department or college
  • A password of all numbers or a single repeated letter
  • A word contained in any dictionary
  • A password with a length under eight characters
  • Reuse or recycle passwords

Suggestions to create a Passphrase

  • Abbreviate by using only the first letters of a memorable sentence-like from a favorite song or poem
  • Remove the vowels from a word, or move all the vowels to the end of the word
  • Use a long passphrase, such as a news headline or even the title of a book report or research paper
  • Use phonetic replacements-use PH instead of F 
  • Use words in reverse order, such as noitazilivic instead of civilization

Do you have a suggestion to add to this article to make us all safer and more secure?

Contact Information

IT Service Desk
859 622 3000