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!

Help! I've forgotten my password

You set a strong password. You do not keep it on a post it note on your keyboard. You never share it with anyone. You follow all the recommendations to be safe. But now you have forgotten your password. What do you do?

If you have set a cell phone number for text message reset options or a non-Miami email address for email options, recovery is easy.

Take Action Now!

But for these options to keep you out of a future jam, you must take action now. A few minutes setting your cell number and email address may save you headaches down the road.

Start at the Recovery Options Summary page. There you can set a non-Miami email address and/or a cell phone number. Once you set and confirm those new options, you can use them to reset a lost password from your desktop or mobile device by going to the Password Recovery Page and requesting a reset message be sent via text or email.

For those who prefer it, there is also a secret question and answer option, too. If you don’t set any options, you will be required come in person or fax your request in. Those options are outlined in the Password Reset case in the knowledge base.