An Easy Trick to Create a Secure Passphrase

So, it’s time to change your ECU passphrase, and you’re stuck thinking of one that is easy to remember. Rather than using the two worst passwords known to man, 12345678 or password, here’s an easy trick to creating a new passphrase for yourself that’s easy to remember, unique and hard to crack.

Set a secure passphrase

Set a secure passphrase

  1. First, make up a sentence you can remember. For example: My dog, Sylvia, has a birthday January 14.
  2. Next, take the first letter of each word, and…
  3. Make 1-2 letters upper case
  4. Make at least one letter a number
  5. Make at least one letter a special character such as, ! @ # $ % & * = +
  6. The new passphrase: Md$habJ1 (don’t use this one!).

Hacker programs crack your passphrase by trying every word in the dictionary and other tricks. Here are a few things to avoid:

  • Never use personal information to create a passphrase.
  • Never use the word, password, as your passphrase. This includes using numbers or special characters to make the word look different.
  • Never use easily-obtained, personal information such as license plate numbers, telephone numbers, etc., as part of your passphrase.
  • Never use any word contained in a dictionary, spelling list or other word list in any language.
  • Never use transformations such as reversing the spelling, changing upper case to lower case or using all caps.
  • Never select a passphrase that is common to everyone (Go@Pirates!).

For more information on passphrase security, please visit www.ecu.edu/itcs/ithelpdesk/passphrase.cfm.

Still have questions? Call the IT Help Desk, 252.328.9866 | 800.340.7081.