Strong passwords = good security

by Cathy McVey, IT Services

The 180 days have passed and your computer is nagging you to change your Miami password – again. Why is this so important? That set of characters stands between all of your online information and the “bad guys” who spend their days trying to get to that information.

Keep calm and change your password

Miami requires that you change your password every 180 or 365 days, depending on how complex a password you choose. All passwords must have 8 characters that include both upper and lower case letters and at least one number. To qualify for the 365 day reset, the password must have 10 characters and add at least one special character (for example: <, ?, +, %).

OK. Those are the basic requirements. What else do you need to know to choose a safe, strong password? Here are some dos and don’ts.

When setting a password, DO:

When setting a password, DON’T

  • Use any word found in any dictionary.
  • Use common numeric or letter sequences (QWERTY, 911).
  • Use personal identifiers like your name, birthday, anniversary, SSN, pet names, phone #.
  • Use popular culture references like names of books, characters, bands, sports team names, etc.
  • Use the word “password.” Surprised this is on the Don’t list? Check this list of the Top 25 Passwords of 2016.

And, once you set your password, remember:

  • Never use the same password for more than one site or account.
  • Never share your password.
  • Never use “Remember Me” on public or shared computers.

Remember, the password(s) you choose determine how safe the online information you manage remains. Investing a small amount of time in choosing wisely can mean fewer headaches in the future and maybe even keep Miami out of the headlines!