Creating Strong Passwords

  • Passwords are your first line of defense to access your computer, programs, and any online resources you may use.

    Some Keys to Password Strength

    • An ideal password has letters, numbers, symbols, and punctuation.
    • Passwords should be long and, at a minimum, have 14 characters.
    • The more variety of characters used on the keyboard the better.
    • Do not use common dictionary words in any language.
    • Avoid using your birthday, home address, phone number, drivers license number, or similar information.
    • Do not use sequences or repeated characters. For example; 12345678, abcdef, or 222222.
    • Do not use keyboard patterns. For example; qwerty, or qazxsw.

     

    Use of a Passphrase

    One of the most secure forms of a password is a complex password or a Passphrase. A passphrase will create a secure password from a sentence. Below are two examples of creating a passphrase using a sentence. The first example will take the first letter from each word in the sentence and add in some complexity to create the passphrase while the second example will use the entire sentence to create the passphrase.

    What to do Suggestion Example
    Start with a sentence, try to have a least 10 words. Think of something meaningful to you so it is easy to remember. The Parkway School District will be starting a technology security awareness program.
    Turn the sentence into a row of letters. Use the first letter of each word. tpsdwbsatsap (12 characters)
    Add Complexity. Make all S's upper case. tpSdwbSatSap (12 characters)
    Add numbers or change letters into numbers. Change t's to 1's. 1pSdwbSa1Sap (12 characters)
    Add punctuation. Add an exclamation point to the end. 1pSdwbSa1Sap! (13 characters)
    Add or change letters into symbols. Add a leading dollar sign and change one a to an @ symbol. $1pSdwbS@1Sap! (14 characters)

    Another method to create a good secure password is to use a short sentence. For example, I could use the sentence "Parkway's last day of school will be May 26th!". After removing the spaces, my password would be "Parkway'slastdayofschoolwillbeMay26th!". This password is long, easy to remember, and has a mix of upper and lower case letters as well as numbers and symbols.

     

    Some Passphrase Don'ts

    • Do not use familiar or famous quotations.
    • Do not use any real names; especially your own, your family member's, or your pet's. 

    To check the strength of your passwords, please visit Microsoft's password checker page.