Securing Your Passwords
It is unsafe to write down your passwords or save them in documents on your computer. See our page on Password Safe Tools for more information.
Stronger passwords can be used for longer periods of time. A good rule of thumb is to change your password when it occurs to you; if you can't remember when you last changed your password, it's time to change it.
Change your passwords if you suspect they've been compromised. If you know they've been compromised, change the passwords and contact the security team in charge of that account. Contact email@example.com if your UARK account has been compromised.
Passwords should be at least eight characters long. When you create a password, pick characters from at least three of the four character groups:
- Lowercase characters
- Uppercase characters
- Special characters, such as !@#$%^&*)(><, etc.
Avoid dictionary words or combinations like "C0mput1ng" that use simple replacements.
Components of a Good Password
Including all of the following components in your password will make it very difficult for someone to crack it:
- Both upper- and lower-case letters
- At least 12 characters
- Not easily decipherable as a real word or phrase upon first glance
Know what to avoid.
Before figuring out what you want to put in your password, here are a few things that you shouldn't put in your password:
- Pet, family, or friend names
- Words as they appear in the dictionary
- Personal information (e.g., your phone number)
- Public information (e.g., something having to do with your commonly known extracurricular activities)
Turn a sentence into a password.
A passphrase is similar to a password in practice; however, it is usually constructed of multiple words containing a mixture of case sensitive letters, numbers, and special characters (for example, “4 Score and 7 Years Ago, Our fathers #..”). Please do not use this example as your passphrase.
Consider common password strategies.
If you don't have your own method of creating a memorable password, you might want to try one of the following:
- Removing the vowels from a word or phrase (e.g., "Hello darkness my old friend" becomes "hlldrknssmldfrnd").
- Shifting your hands when typing (for example, using the motion that you'd use to type "wikiHow" with your hands shifted down one row on the keyboard).
- Doubling your password (e.g., creating a password, typing a space or a separating character, and retyping the password).
Pick a compound word or phrase that stands out to you.
You most likely have several words, a phrase, a title (e.g., an album or a song), or something similar that stands out to you for some reason; such words/phrases make great password bases because they're emotionally relevant to you, but not anyone else.
- For example, you might pick the name of your favorite song from a specific album, or your favorite phrase from a specific book.
- Find several random words and stringing them together without modifying them past that point (e.g., "bananacoffeespoonphonecomfortercat").
- Make sure that you don't pick a word or phrase that people know you like.
A tool to evaluate how different techniques can be used to create secure passwords is http://password-checker.online-domain-tools.com/.