Increase your Computer Security
by Having Good Passwords


One of the best and easiest methods to increase computer security is by having good passwords.  The common techniques to breach computer security are brute force random guessing and dictionary/people name guessing.  Passwords are becoming more like "electronic signatures" and less like "keys to a file cabinet" with the use of electronic time cards and electronic expense accounts, so it is even more critical that they are kept private.  A good password is one that cannot be easily guessed and is not written down or shared with anyone else.  Therefore the following guidelines are provided to help select good passwords.

  • Always use some non alphanumeric, such as punctuation and symbols: ({}[],.<>;:'"?/|\`~!@#$%^&*()_-+=).  This is by far the best way to improve password security.

  • Your password should be at least eight characters long.  Longer passwords with more non letter characters are more secure against brute force attacks.

  • Your password should not be an incremental password such as password, password2, password3, etc.

  • Your password should not contain your e-mail name, any part of your name, your wife's or kids' name, phone number, etc.

  • Your new passwords should never be the same as previous passwords.

  • Your password should not be a "common" word (for example, it should not be a word in the dictionary or slang in common use).

  • Your password should not be a person's name or any simple keyboard strokes, such as qwerty and 1111111.  Password cracking programs exist that can run through millions of possible word combinations in seconds.

A complex password that cannot be broken is useless if you cannot remember it. For security to function, you must choose a password you can remember and yet is complex.

Some examples of good passwords are: ILuv2Sk! (I love to ski), Msi5!YOld (My Son is 5 years old) OR IhliVa5#yN (I have lived in Virginia for 5 years now).   ...If you have any questions please call the Help Desk (C-HelP?d;-)).


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