Related Links

As our work and personal online accounts multiply, managing passwords can become a chore. Secure passwords are critical to protecting your information online, though, so it’s worth the effort to develop a system for choosing your passwords and keeping them safe.

These rules are a good place to start:

Choose long passwords with numbers, letters and symbols

One trick is to start out with a creative phrase related to the account you’re protecting, and then use numbers and letters to recreate it in shortened form.

Use different passwords for different accounts

It’s tempting to use the same password over and over, but the convenience just isn’t worth the risk. One hack and a criminal could have access to all of your accounts. Email accounts are often targets of attackers, so make sure to update your email passwords to newer, complex passwords to reduce the risk of compromise.

You may want to look into a secure online application for managing your passwords. If you need to write down a password, store the information in a safe location out of sight (not on your computer or desk). Don’t let your computer or device automatically remember your passwords for you – that puts you at too great a risk if your device is lost or stolen.

Keep your password recovery options up-to-date

We all forget our passwords now and then. To make sure you can reset your passwords easily, each account should be kept up to date with:

  • Your recovery phone number – This is the safest option for recovering your password, since you know your cell phone is safely with you.
  • Your current email address – This is an entry point to your accounts, so choose a secure email password and check your account regularly for security alerts (including notifications that someone tried to change your password).
  • Strong security questions – If you have a choice of questions, look for those with answers only you would know.

Finally, never reveal your passwords to anyone, and never give private information (yours or other people’s) to anyone you don’t know or who doesn’t have a legitimate business need for it.

For additional cybersecurity awareness information and resources, visit UC’s Information Security Awareness website.