The first Thursday of every May is World Password Day, when users are encouraged to brush up on their password security practices. Read on for some useful password tips.
Create Strong (and Long) Passwords
While short passwords are easy to remember, they are also easy to crack. When it comes to passwords, longer is better. Your USC NetID password must be at least 12 characters long. For added security, it should contain a mix of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters.
To help remember a long password, consider creating a passphrase made up of several words that create a phrase or sentence easy for you to remember but difficult for hackers to guess. An example of a strong passphrase might be We8Forty3MoldyCheeses-YUM!.
It’s also important to remember that criminals are very aware of the most commonly used passwords, such as 12345, letmein, or password, and often try these first when attempting to hack accounts. You should be aware of these common choices as well and avoid using them. The online security firm Splash Data releases an annual list of the most commonly used passwords; to view the 2015 list, see www.teamsid.com/worst-passwords-2015.
Never Share Your Passwords
A password can’t protect your account from someone who knows it. You should avoid sharing your passwords with anyone – including ITS. Many hackers obtain account credentials simply by asking for them, often in phishing emails or fake customer support phone calls. Remember that no one in ITS will ever ask you for your password in an unsolicited email or phone call.
For more password security tips from ITS, visit itservices.usc.edu/security/passwordtips.