Why do you need a strong password?

Your passwords are the keys you use to unlock your computer and online accounts. The stronger the password, the better the security against intrusion by hackers and thieves, who could use your information to access files, corporate applications like Agresso/SSIS/EMS, or even schedule appointments disguised as you — and you wouldn't know it until it was too late.

It isn't hard to create strong passwords. With a small amount of effort on your part and some tricks provided in this article, you can help improve the security of your Royal Roads corporate and personal information.

A good, strong password should meet all three of these criteria:

  1. A minimum of 12 characters in length. Short passwords are easier to crack than long passwords.
  2. Ideally combines letters with a number or symbol thrown in, but:
    • Not sequential or repeating combinations, such as 12345678, 222222, abcdefg, or adjacent letters on your keyboard.
    • Not common words with letters replaced by numbers or symbols, such as M1cr0$0ft or P@ssw0rd. Unfortunately, hackers know these tricks.
  3. Easy for you to remember, but difficult for others to guess, and:
    • Not your login name, your spouse's name, or your birthday.
    • Not words found in the dictionary, in any language. Hackers use sophisticated tools that can rapidly guess passwords that are based on words in the dictionary, in a variety of languages, and using words spelled backwards.
    • Not hard-to-remember. Random combinations of letters, numbers, and symbols that must be written down to be remembered, can be misplaced, or found by others and used.

Create a strong, memorable password in 2 steps:

The problem is the bad guys have developed sophisticated programs that can guess, or “brute force,” your passwords, and they are constantly getting better at it. This means they can steal your passwords if they are weak or easy to guess. The recent iCloud “attack” where several celebrities had their photos accessed, copied and distributed on the Internet is a good example of this. Never use common information for your passwords, such as your birth date, your pet’s name, spouse or children’s names or anything else that can be easily determined from your social networking posts or Google – it’s the quickest way to be in the same situation as a Hollywood starlet.

Now, if you’re expecting that we are going to recommend a single password with 8 or more characters, a number and a special character, you’re wrong. We used to do that, but we found it was just too hard for people to remember. A much better approach, and what we recommend now, is to use multiple words or even a complete sentence. This type of password is called a passphrase, and it is one of the strongest you can use. And, it’s easier to remember than a long string of characters, numbers and symbols!

Step 1 - Think of a phrase 

ham and pineapple pizza

Now combine that into a single word and you have a passphrase - hamandpineapplepizza

Step 2 - Add capitals, symbols or numbers

You can make your password even stronger by adding symbols, capital letters or numbers, such as those you see in the example below.  Now hamandpineapplepizza becomes Hamandp1neappleP1zza!

Notice how this example uses a capital letter. You can also replace letters with numbers or symbols, such as replacing the letter ‘i’ with the number “1” and the letter ‘o’ with the number zero, or use common punctuation marks such as a question mark, period or even spaces. If a website or program limits the number of characters you can use in a password, use the maximum number of characters allowed.

You are done.

Keeping your passwords secret:

Treat your passwords and passphrases seriously.

  1. Don't give them out to friends or family members (especially children) who could pass them on to other less trustworthy individuals.
  2. Don't store written passwords in your desk. If found, such a note, created for your convenience, can provide easy access to your computer for burglars.
  3. Never provide your password over e-mail even if a trusted company or individual requests it. Internet phishing scams might use fraudulent e-mail to entice you into revealing your user names and passwords so criminals can access your accounts, steal your identity, and more.
  4. RRU will never ask you for your password? No one in Royal Roads will ever contact you and ask you for your password. It is easier for us to reset it then to request it from you. If you are ever concerned that an email from us might be fraudulent, then contact us by phone and we would be pleased to discuss it with you. Better safe then sorry.

Other Password Tips:

  • Change passwords regularly. Ideally, you should create new, strong passwords for your accounts every few months. This can help keep hackers off balance if they're monitoring a Web site that you visit frequently.
  • Do not use the same passwords for multiple accounts. You should create a new, strong password each time you open a new account.
  • Use a Password tool that can store your usernames and passwords in a encrypted file.  There are many free and inexpensive apps for your phone of computer that can be used to store the myriad of passwords you have.  Just make sure the program stores the passwords in a secure, encrypted file and that the password to get into this file has a strong password as well.  Also make sure that the app does not store the information anywhere else.  The app should not transmit your stored password anywhere.
  • Don't enable the Save Password Option. If you receive a dialog box asking if you would like the computer to remember the password, choose No. This option lets anyone who can accesses your computer profile also all websites that have these pre-saved passwords.

Changing your Royal Roads Password: