Password Recommendations

When picking a password for an account, it is important to make sure it is a good one. That means it should be of sufficient length and complexity, and not include any easy guessable words or words commonly found in a dictionary.

This advice isn’t just for our department and other sites at Washington University, it should be used with every site and service that you use.

Some tips when creating a password:

– Don’t use words that are found in a dictionary.
– Use a mixture of upper and lower case letters, special characters, and numbers.
– The length of your password may be more important than its complexity! A long, easy to remember password is more secure than a short, complex password.
– Use a unique password for each site.

If a web site’s password database is stolen by a hacker, the length and complexity of your password comes into play. Password decryption works the quickest when the passwords are short! A long password becomes exponentially more difficult for a computer to decrypt. A password is safer if it cannot be decrypted.

Even if you use a long and complex password, some websites use passwords databases that are not encrypted (passwords were saved in plain text). This is why it is important that you use a unique password for every site you use!

You can test how quickly your password can be hacked here:

You can get a good idea of a secure password here: