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Good Password Practices

Keyhole-computer screen iconEvery day, we encounter passwords and passcodes. We use a password to log onto our computers at Metro and at home (hopefully). We enter a Personal Identification Number at an ATM to withdraw money. We key in a number to retrieve our voice mail.

Passwords and other passcodes are equivalent to the key for your house. We keep the key with us at all times and don't hand it out to just anybody. That is because the key unlocks the protection of our possessions, our space, even our family. So we guard the key closely, and we use locks that are very hard to open without the right key.

Passwords, like physical locks, also protect important items: money in bank accounts, information in computers, even our identity and reputation. But in order to be the most effective, passwords must be strong and guarded. Here are several simple tasks you can do to make your passwords stronger to better protect your assets.

A Few Tips

  • Combine letters, numbers, and symbols, and do not use words or easily guessable numbers like a phone number.
  • Longer is stronger – passwords should be at least ten characters long. Fourteen or longer is ideal.
  • Use phrases to remember passwords (mnemonics). For example, “I like to eat at Red Lobster” becomes Ilik2e@RL!
  • Do not use your Metro password for access to anything else, such as personal email and banking.
  • Never share your password with anyone, including your supervisor or ITS. You are responsible for all activity associated with your account.
  • Have a different password for each type of account. For instance, one for :
    • social media (Twitter, Facebook, personal email)
    • work
    • financial accounts (banking, credit, etc.)

Once you have a good base password (Ilik2e@RL!), then you can add characters to reflect the type, such as Ilik2e@RL!$$$ for financial accounts or Ilik2e@RL!@work for your work accounts.

Additional tips on good password practices