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GWU The Art of Choosing a Good Password

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					The Art of Choosing a Good Password You probably have several of them. One for your bank, one for your email, one for your voicemail. You shouldn’t keep them displayed on a Post-It note on your PC, and moreover, you shouldn’t make them easy to crack. You need your passwords for all your online communications, and you need to protect them. As easy as it is to use “changeme” or “password” or your name, you are taking a huge security risk by using passwords that are easy to hack. There is an art to choosing a good password. While a good password may take longer to remember, it’s worth the effort to protect your desktop and the entire network. Passwords are an integral part of overall security. A weak password is one of the vulnerabilities most frequently targeted by a hacker. If your password is compromised, then any account or information you can access could be at risk. Defend your desktop and the GW network by using a strong password for every account. So, what makes a good strong password? Here are some tips:

o Do not use familiar names o Use a different password for different accounts o Avoid using commonly known facts about yourself o Do not use words found in the dictionary o Use at least eight (8) characters o Utilize both letters and numbers o Use special characters, if possible o Use upper and lower-case letters, if possible o Do not share your password with anyone o Never write down your password o Do not store your password in a computer file o When receiving technical assistance, enter your password instead of sharing it with the technology staff member o If you ever receive a telephone call from someone claiming to need your password, report it immediately

For more password Do’s and Don’ts or to check the strength of a sample password go to the following web site: http://infosec.gwu.edu/Program/PWTest.asp

For instructions on how reset your password, go to: http://helpdesk.gwu.edu/helpdesk/accounts/password.html


				
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posted:11/8/2007
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