Password Guidance

Guidelines for password selection
Your password is a secret that you shouldn’t share with anyone; it protects the privacy and confidentiality of your personal information and access to your accounts. Select a strong password that is easy for you to remember, but very difficult for someone else to guess.

Avoid the following when selecting a password:

  • Do not use your name, userid, variation of your name (i.e. your name spelled backwards), nickname, spouse, child’s name, pet’s name, favorite football team, literary character, type of car, favorite sport, etc. These can be easily guessed by asking you a few questions or knowing a little about you.
  • Do not use common words in the dictionary.
  • Do not use an alphabetic or numeric series, either backwards or forwards (i.e. ABCDEFG, GFEDCBA, 1234567 or 7654321).
  • Do not use a string of identical letters or numbers (i.e. AAAAAAA or 1111111).

Use the following when selecting a password:

  • Create a password with at least 8 characters and less than 10 (for the VCCS systems)
    • Hackers try short words first
  • Use a combination of numbers and letters in your password
    • at least one UPPERCASE letter,
    • at least one lowercase letter, and
    • at least one number (0-9)
    • The password cannot be all letters or all numbers
    • The password cannot be your birth date
    • Do not use any symbols or spaces
    • The password cannot be the same as the username
  • Use a combination of upper and lowercase (i.e., IsDIMs)
  • The password is case sensitive
  • Combine the first letters of each word of a phrase with numbers to create a password.
    • For example: start with a phrase such as “I sure do love my 40 year old spouse”. This can turn into a password like “IsdLm40yos”. This password is much more difficult to crack.
    • To make a secure password that is easy to remember, start with a phrase of 5 to 9 words.
  • Do not start your password with a number
  • Do not use a common keyboard shortcut (i.e. ASDFG or QWERTY)

Other Tips:

  • Use different passwords for each account you have
  • Change your passwords at regular intervals
  • Never write your passwords down
  • Never share your passwords with others
  • Be sure to log out when you leave the computer