Protect My Passwords

Protect My Passwords

How to create a strong password and keep it secure

LOCK IT: Power up your Passwords

Why is it important to have a strong password?

Passwords are an important part of our digital lives. Have you ever considered the implications of what would happen if your password was stolen? How many accounts would someone be able to access with just one of your passwords?

In many cases, anybody with access to your password would be able to see all sorts of confidential information. They may be able to view personal and professional data, modify or delete files, or even access your bank account.

Despite this, ‘123456’ still remains one of the most commonly used passwords in the world.

90% of passwords could be cracked in 6 hours,

which is less than a work day!1

21% of people use passwords that are over 10 years old,

which means they created their password when Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston were still together...2

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1How do I create a strong password?

UBC recommends creating a passphrase of at least 16 characters. Passphrases are easy for you to remember but too long for someone to guess. For example, "sunshine blue trees swimming" or for an even shorter version: "sunshine blue trees".

Alternatively, you can use a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols at least eight characters in length. You should consider creating an acronym for a phrase that you can easily remember. For example, SrahoSi#1986 refers to “She rode a horse on Saturday in 1986”.

To keep information and accounts secure, do not re-use your UBC passwords/phrases with personal systems like Yahoo or Google. For extra security, it is advisable to use a unique password or passphrase for each user account. Remember to change your passwords annually.

Check the Strength of a Sample Password

Use the tool below to safely test the strength of a password that you are thinking of using. As per UBC’s security guidelines, we will never ask you for your actual CWL password. Please note that nothing you enter in the box below is recorded or transmitted outside of your browser or over the internet. We recommend only entering a sample password below - you can try as many as you would like. The tool will tell you how quickly the password could be guessed by a computer and displays tips on how to improve the strength of your sample password.

    2Where can I store my passwords?

    Passwords may be harder to remember nowadays, but try and resist writing them down on a sticky note attached to your computer!

    Consider installing a password management application to create unique passwords for all of your needs and secure that list of passwords with a common master password. View our setting up a password manager information page for practical step-by-step instructions and best practices for setting up a password manager, as well as a grid that compares some of the top products.

    3Should I share my passwords with anyone?

    Sharing a password is like sharing a toothbrush, it's just not a good idea.

    Even if you trust someone, never share your password. Relationships can end, employees leave jobs, and passwords can be misused in many ways.

    Remember: UBC officials will never ask you for your password. If you receive a suspicious message asking you to provide your password, it will likely be a phishing email.

    Go even further...

    For a much more in-depth look at password security at UBC, you can:

    Complete the full Fundamentals training to learn how to protect yourself and others
    View the Information Security Standard on password and passphrase protection.