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Logo UHasselt Universiteit Hasselt - Knowledge in action

PASSWORD STRATEGIES

Choosing a good password is extremely important since not only your data and information is better protected, but it also avoids that hackers get access easily to the system.

A few tips for choosing a " good" password:

  • Proper names and words which have a meaning in whatever languages should not be picked for passwords.

  • It does not help to reverse the order of the characters of a meaningful word, password cracking programs check this.

  • Mix upper and lower case characters.

  • Only use passwords containing at least a few digits or "special" characters such as "#@%$^&>-_=+".

  • Do not use obvious sequences of characters.

  • Avoid personal information such as dates of birth of a relative, bank account numbers, telephone numbers,...

  • Scrambling personal information such as names, office or phone numbers, email addresses, etc...: very bad!

  • Names of actors, bands, pop stars, characters in literature, titles of movies, songs, books, names of monuments, cities, regions, countries, computer programs,... are a sure path to disaster.

  • 3+2=5, 2*4=8, E=mc^{2}, H_{2}O,... just forget it! (Although all of this is correct).

Examples of bad passwords:

  • Marnix, Kenya, Darwin, Boland,...

  • Birdsong, Tafel, feNetre,...

  • Table5, !Helene, #Fortran,... (A good password cracker has no problem with this.)

  • QWERTY, VBNM>,... (Obvious sequences)

  • Sneomj for user jmoens

Examples of good passwords:

  • Qor&hoen, kol()toe, {cad#isj]...

Password protection strategies

  • Change your password regularly (once a month or so).

  • Do not write your password down: " You never know who's looking...". Certainly do not put a Post-it note on your computer screen.

  • If you change your password, always change it completely, not just one character. If someone did have your old password, he will certainly try this.

  • Never send your password to someone by email. After all, you are the only one responsible for what happens to your account.