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Online Security: Passwords

By SarahWhelan 23 Feb 2020

It can feel like everything we do online requires a password, and so it is easy to fall into re-using the same passwords for several accounts.

Here we have gathered some top tips from our QMU Digital Team that will help keep your accounts safe online without requiring a memory like Rain Man

Use a 'strong' password:

Long: More characters means less vulnerability. A 3 character password could be cracked in 1 second. A 10 character password would take 526 years.

Original: Let your creativity flow, 4% of passwords include '123456', don't just be one of the herd.

Varied: Mixing numbers and letters, and even characters, will help strengthen your password. Re-live the 00's MSN days with s0m3 l3tter5 1n y0ur p4ssw0rd f0r numb3r5.

Non-personal: Your first name is not going to take an enigma machine to solve. Perhaps choose a phrase or lyric and use the first letter of each word e.g. 'Tramps like us, baby we were born to run' becomes 'tlu,bwwbtr'

Combined: A ten character password is strongest when it is a combination of words rather than one 10 letter dictionary word.

Don't reuse passwords:

While the idea of using the same password for all your online services sounds tempting, it's really insecure. If one of your accounts is compromised, hackers will be able to access all your other accounts that use the same password. It's especially important to keep your email password different from the rest of your accounts. Think about it – when you forget a password, what do you do? Most people request a reset link to their email. That could spell disaster if a hacker has managed to get their hands on your credentials.

Try a password generator:

If you want a hand making an unbreakable password try an online generator. 1password has a Free generator. It works best when you select 'memorable password' and set the length to 4+words.

If you don't fancy using an online tool why not try flicking through a book or magazine and choose 4 words at random then add some numbers or characters.

Consider a password manager:

If all of the above sounds overwhelming, you could consider outsourcing your passwords to a password manager. A password manager is a clever piece of software that stores your passwords securely. Good password managers can be used across devices, can recommend secure passwords for new accounts and will alert you if any of your accounts suffer a security breach. You usually pay for a password manager, generally about the cost of a cup of coffee per month.

Suggested managers:

1password

Last Password

Dashlane

a wooden door

Your QMU Password

QMU IT has made it easier than ever for you to reset your password if you ever forget it or find yourself locked out of your account. You just need you to register....

Click here to register for password reset

After you register, if you ever forget your password, you can go here to reset it

If, at any time, you wish to simply change your password to something else, then you can do so here

Requirements for your password are as follows:

  • Minimum length of 8 characters (12 characters recommended)
  • Must not include your username or parts of your full name
  • Must contain characters from three of the following four categories
    • Uppercase characters (A through Z)
    • Lowercase characters (a through z)
    • Base 10 digits (0 through 9)
    • Non-alphanumeric (for example !, $, #, %)

Any new password must differ from the previous five passwords.

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