CITES | University of Illinois

Tips for Creating and Protecting Your Passwords

This page suggests how to create passwords that you will remember, and how to protect them.

Creating a Password

The important goals in choosing a password are (1) choosing something that you can remember and (2) choosing something that meets all the password requirements. Following are some suggestions for coming up with a good password:

  • Join two small words with a numeral; use uppercase and lowercase letters. For example: fUn4fiVe, are9mInt
  • Combine first letters from a phrase or quote; be sure to include uppercase letters, lowercase letters, and numerals. Lines from poems or songs work well. For example, take the line "Lucy in the sky with diamonds" and turn it into L1tS!wDm. (You can use numerals for letters that resemble them, such as the numeral 1 for the letter i, or the numeral 5 for the letter s.)
  • Extract vowels or consonants from words in a phrase, and mix in some nonalphabetic characters if necessary. For example, take the phrase "Bond, James Bond" and turn it into Bnd,jAm5b. Or take the phrase "New and Improved" and turn it into N3w&Mprvd.
  • Create funny words by linking one or two consonants followed by one or two vowels and repeating the pattern. As always, mix in some numeric characters. These often are difficult to pronounce and may have little meaning, but they're easier to remember than random text. For example: cIebm3Al or wR3otSwy.

Protecting Your Passwords

  • Use passwords that are difficult to guess.
  • Change your passwords at least once a year. (For your NetID password, this is required.)
  • Memorize your passwords instead of writing them down.
  • Never share your passwords with anyone. Sharing your password is against the University's Information Technology Policies and could result in loss of access to campus computing resources.
    Note: Nobody should ever ask for your password. Nobody. Not CITES staff, not the Help Desk, not even the University Police. If anyone requests your password, contact security@uiuc.edu.
  • Whenever a computer or program gives you the option to have it save your password for you, do not select this option. Having the computer or program save your password for you is almost the same as sharing your password with anyone who has access to that computer or program.
Last updated Monday, February 11, 2013, 10:43 am