Creating a strong password is an essential step to protecting yourself online. Using long and complex passwords is one of the easiest ways to defend yourself from cybercriminals. No one is immune to the risk of an account compromise, but by following these simple steps you can reduce your chances of an incident.
If you have forgotten your password and need to recover it, learn more about resetting your Davidson password.
Best Practices for Creating & Storing Passwords
Use a long password, called a passphrase. Consider using a passphrase that contains multiple words or a complete sentence instead of one word with symbols and numbers. For best security, these words should not be a collection of words already available on the internet, like a movie title or quote.
Instead, choose a selection of random words that create a story in your head, or are related to some other words that are easy for you to remember. For instance, if your parents are named Rob and Amanda, and your siblings Pat and Norman, you could use "rhino aster pickle norway" as a passphrase. Passphrases can also contain symbols or spaces.
At Davidson, we currently require at least a 14-character password, so passphrases are a good way to meet that minimum length requirement without having to remember many special characters or numbers while still having a very strong password that is hard for a person or algorithm to guess.
Don’t make your password content easy to guess. Do not include personal information in your passwords such as your name or pets’ names. This information is often easy to find on social media, making it easier for cybercriminals to hack your accounts.
Avoid using common words or phrases in your passwords. Phrases like "GoWildcats" or "Hornets2023" can be easy to guess if others know where you work or who you root for.
Keep your passwords to yourself. Don’t tell anyone your passwords and watch for attackers trying to trick you into revealing your passwords through email or calls. Every time you share or reuse a password, it chips away at your security by opening up more avenues in which it could be misused or stolen.
Unique account, unique password. Having different passwords for different accounts helps prevent cybercriminals from gaining access to these accounts and protects you in the event of a breach. It’s important to mix things up. If you have a lot of online passwords, using a password manager is a safer approach than reusing one password across different accounts.
Check your email address and password. There are sites that can check your email to see if it has been compromised. The site https://haveibeenpwned.com is a legitimate resource that lets you know if your email and passwords have been impacted by past data breaches.
Utilize a password manager to remember all your long passwords. The most secure way to store all of your unique passwords is by using a password manager. With just one master password, a computer can generate and retrieve passwords for every account that you have, protecting your online information, including credit card numbers, codes, answers to security questions, and more.
Never provide your password via email or text message. Never share your password or provide your password via email or text message. Davidson will never ask you to provide your password in an email, and no other reputable entity or individual will either.