University of Vermont

CALS Information Technology Office

Choosing passwords

Notes on choosing passwords

A good password is easily remembered but hard to guess.

  • Do not choose passwords that have any personal reference to yourself; for example, your nickname, license plate, pet's name, city of birth, or a hobby.
  • Nonsense words, unusual acronyms, and deliberate misspellings are good passwords.
  • Adding numbers, special characters or capitalization makes a password more difficult to guess.
  • Do not choose a word that is in a dictionary, even if you add numbers or special symbols before or after the word.
  • A good technique for making easy to remember, but hard to guess passwords is to take two short words, and concatenate them together with a number or symbol in the middle. For example, take the words "frog" and "pen" and then your password could be "frog5pen". That's fairly easy to remember, but would be fairly hard for someone else to guess.
Your passwords provide access to your private, and often confidential, information. It's important to pick a strong password that's difficult for someone else to guess. Computing and Information Technology recommends that you do not write your password down anywhere. 

Last modified September 20 2006 12:01 PM

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