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Password Guidelines

Your University password provides you with access to many network resources. Every time you connect to one of these resources, you must prove you are who you say you are.   To protect your privacy and data from being compromised it is important that you choose a password that will be difficult for others to guess.  Current USD password guidelines require:
  • Minimum length of 8 characters
  • Must not be a word found in the dictionary
  • Must contain at least one uppercase and one lowercase letter
  • Must contain at least one numeral or "special" character

Use at least eight characters

Use keyboard sequences, e.g., asdfjkl
Use a password with mixed-case letters Use a network login ID in any form (reversed, capitalized, or doubled)
Use a password that contains alphanumeric characters Use a password of all numbers, or all letters.
Use special characters, like (& @ * $) Use a word contained in the dictionary, English or foreign
Use a seemingly random selection of letters and numbers Use other information easily obtained about you, such as pet name, license plate, telephone numbers, address, etc.
Use a password that can be typed quickly without looking at the keyboard Write a password on sticky notes, calendars, or store it online where it can be accessed by others
Change passwords regularly
Share passwords with anyone

Four steps to create a strong, memorable password:
  1. Think of a sentence that you can remember. This will be the basis of your strong password or pass phrase. Use a memorable sentence, such as "My son Aiden is three years old."
  2. Convert it to a password. Take the first letter of each word of the sentence that you've created to create a new, nonsensical word. Using the example above, you'd get: "msaityo".
  3. Add complexity by mixing uppercase and lowercase letters and numbers. It is valuable to use some letter swapping or misspellings as well. For instance, in the pass phrase above, consider misspelling Aiden's name, or substituting the word "three" for the number 3. There are many possible substitutions, and the longer the sentence, the more complex your password can be. Your pass phrase might become "My SoN Ayd3N is 3 yeeRs old." This might yield a password like "MsAy3yo".
  4. Finally, substitute some special characters. You can use symbols that look like letters, combine words (remove spaces) and other ways to make the password more complex. Using these tricks, we create a pass phrase of "MySoN 8N i$ 3 yeeR$ old" or a password (using the first letter of each word) "M$8ni3y0".

NOTE: Do not use the passwords examples given here.