Technology Services HelpDesk

Password Guidelines

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The purpose of this guideline is to inform Hendrix College Account holders on best practices and recommendations for creating and maintaining strong passwords.

Make your password easy to remember, but hard to guess

Complex passwords with special characters, upper- and lower-case letter, and numbers are difficult to remember and do not always provide more security. Using a longer passphrase instead is often a better idea. This can be a quote you remember, a song lyric, or even a bunch of random words.

Password Strength

Image: https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/password_strength.png (Licensed under Creative Commons 2.5)

Password Length: Longer is Better

The minimum required length of passwords on the network is 12 characters, but we recommend 14 or more for the strongest password. Short passwords are much more easily guessed by computers.

Don’t Reuse Passwords

If you reuse a password with many different accounts around the internet and one of them get’s compromised, hackers can easily gain access to all the accounts you use with the same password. For that reason, it is never a good idea to re-use passwords, but especially for sensitive accounts like your Hendrix Account. If you want to see if your information has been included in any of the many leaks in the past several years, you can check this website: https://haveibeenpwned.com/ 

Don't use your dog's name or "Hendrix" in your password

A very common method hackers use to find your password is social engineering and data mining. If you've posted your dog's name or where you work on Facebook or your first street name and your favorite color and then use that in your password, you've greatly increased the risk that a hacker can guess your password or use your "forgot your password" questions to gain access to your account!

Don’t use the same password for too long

The College network requires users to change their password every 6 months to reduce the risk that your account has been compromised. For your personal accounts you should always change your password more frequently for more sensitive accounts (such as your bank accounts).

Don’t put your password under your keyboard

It’s also not a good idea to put your passwords on a note in your wallet. We recommend that you use a good password manager if you need to store your passwords. A good password manager will have high ratings from reviewers you trust and should also allow you to use Multi-Factor Authentication.

Definitions

Strong Password

A password that is reasonably difficult to guess in a short period of time either through human guessing or the use of specialized software.

Multi-Factor Authentication

(MFA) is a security system that requires more than one method of authentication from independent categories of credentials to verify the user’s identity for a login or other transaction.

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