What's in a Password?

Volume 5, No. 3

Cal Lutheran's password policies have changed over the years, primarily due to changing audit standards and industry's evolving best practices. The current CLU accounts policy requires that passwords must be:

  • changed every 180 days (30 days for Datatel accounts);
  • at least eight (8) characters in length; and
  • composed of both numbers and letters making them "strong passwords."

While the above list defines minimum requirements, ISS encourages CLU account holders to make passwords even "stronger" by:

  • using both uppercase and lowercase letters;
  • using special characters like the dollar sign ($) and the ampersand (&);
  • avoiding the use of common dictionary words or names; and
  • avoiding use of the same password for all accounts.

Caution: The expression "iloveyou" and "rockyou" (both included in the top 10 list of most used passwords) may be easy to remember (and perhaps may even have significant meaning for you), but avoid them as they are too easy to guess.

Note: According to the same ZDnet report, 60% of online users use a common set of characters in their passwords, making it easier for hackers to "crack" passwords.

*This Issue's Techno Term

Term: captcha

Definition: program used to verify that a human, rather than a computer, is entering data; commonly seen at the end of online forms asking the user to enter text from a distorted image (i.e., text in the image may be wavy, have lines through it, or may be highly irregular, making it nearly impossible for an automated program to recognize); employing captcha can slow down hacking attempts

Example in a sentence: The squiggly lines in the Facebook captcha forced Iris to guess whether she should next type a "q:" or a "g." She asked, "Why don't they just make this easy?"

Soure: http://www.techterms.com/definition/captcha

If you have questions or need assistance, please call the Help Desk at (805) 493-3698 or send e-mail to helpdesk@callutheran.edu

Additional information is available at the Computer Training Website; in addition, an archive of previous Tech Bytes issues is located at http://www.callutheran.edu/iss/training/tech_bytes/