Passwords are the key to accessing secure, private information that is important to you or Austin College. Creating secure passwords are critical to protecting this information from the vast number of hackers around the world. When setting or resetting a password, please take a few moments to ensure you are using an effective password.
What not to do
Don’t reuse passwords
Use different passwords for important accounts, including your Austin College login. This ensures the security of other accounts if one of your passwords are compromised.
For employees, do not use the same password for Colleague as for your PC login.
Don’t use easy guessed personal information
Avoid using personal information that is easily guessed or easily found out like:
- your street address
- pet’s name
- area or zip codes
- phone numbers
- common years (birth year, graduation year, etc)
Don’t use common words or phrases
Avoid easily guessed information in your password like:
- Commonly used words and patterns like ‘password’, ‘1234’, etc
- Keyboard patterns like ‘qwerty’, ‘qazwsx’, etc
- Any of the example passwords on this page
Creating a good password
- 8 characters is a minimum length, but longer is more secure.
- Spaces and symbols (anything on the keyboard that’s not a letter or number) are allowed and help make a password more secure.
- Replace letters and words with numbers and symbols. For example, @ for the word ‘at’ or the letter ‘a’, 7 for a T, 1 or ! for the letter I, etc.
- The more important the login, the more complex your password should be. For example, banks and other financial institutions should have longer and more secure passwords. Also remember that many sites allow for resetting your password using email, so your email password should be very secure as it is effectively a master password.
Secure passwords can be created using a number of methods. Some suggested methods are:
- Abbreviate a favorite phrase, song lyric, or poetry. For example, “There is a place where the sidewalk ends and before the street begins” could become “T1aPwtSe@BtsB”. “I’m singin’ in the rain, just singin’ in the rain” could become “Is’itR,Js’itR”
- Substitute characters in a meaningful phrase, lyric, or poetry. For example “I love Tom Hanks” could become “I <3 Tom H@nks”. If your father drove a red Ford pickup growing up, you could use “dad’sRedF-150”
- Concatenate two or more words (random or meaningful to you) and substitute characters. For example the random words “copper”, “plain”, and “spark” becomes “CopperPla1nSp@rk”. If you use something meaningful to you, don’t use something that could be easily guessed or learned about you.
- Use two or more unrealted pieces of information. Do not use easily guessed information mentioned above. For example, if you like Cowboy’s quarterback Dak Prescott and the Ferrari 458, you could use “Prescott#4-F458”
Remembering your passwords
With the large number of websites and services requiring passwords and the recommendation not to reuse passwords, it becomes difficult to remember all the logins and passwords.
One way to keep them all secure is to utilize a password manager that encrypts all of your passwords using a secure master password. There are a number of free and low-cost password manager solutions available with options such as syncing between PC and mobile device, automatically pasting passwords into known web sites, etc.