Choosing A Good Password

What is a Password?

A password is the second part of an access code. It is a secret series of characters that enables a user to access a file, computer, or program. It helps ensure that unauthorized users do not access the computer or particular data files and programs.

Most personal computers have no log-on procedure–you just turn the machine on and begin working. But for larger systems and networks, you usually need to enter a user name (also called a log-in name) and password before the computer system will allow you to execute programs.

Choosing a Password

A good password is an essential part of security. For this purpose, a user must choose a good password. Ideally, a good password should be something that nobody can guess. In practice, most people choose a password that is easy to remember, such as their name or their initials, birthday or any other word related to them. This is one reason it is relatively easy to break into most computer systems.

There are several points to consider in getting a good password. Among them are the following:

  • Don’t use your log-in name
  • Don’t use any personal information associated with the owner of the account. For example, don’t use initials, phone number, social security number, job title, organizational unit, etc.
  • Don’t use keyboard sequences, e.g., qwerty.
  • Don’t use an all-numeric password.
  • Don’t use a sample password, no matter how good, that you’ve gotten from a book that discusses computer security.
  • Do use a mixture of numbers and mixed-case letters (meaning to say, may be uppercase or lowercase).
  • Do use long passwords. Eight characters would be good. But 15 characters is much better.
  • Do use a seemingly random selection of letters and numbers.

Creating a Password for Your UMak Portal Accounts

The same points are also essential in creating a password for your ccount, so as to maintain the privacy of your e-mail messages and prevent other users from accessing your personal information.

The portal sets its own specific rules in accepting passwords:

  • It MUST have AT LEAST EIGHT (8) characters. Fifteen or more characters would give much better security.
  • It should NOT contain part of your user name AND/OR full name.
  • It must contain a capital letter.
  • It must contain a lowercase letter.
  • It must contain a numeric character.
  • It must contain at least one of these special characters.

The following are examples of a VALID password: cHarm3d1@, chArm3d#

It is good to create your own password convention that satisfies the above requirements but is still easy to remember.

Note: Portal supports CASE SENSITIVITY for password(s), so every time you login, make sure that you have typed your password accurately.

Securing Your Password

It is not enough to make a good password. It is also essential to keep your password secured and confidential by considering the following points:

  • Don’t write down your password on any sheet of paper. It may get lost and someone else may use it.
  • Don’t reveal a password over the phone to ANYONE.
  • Don’t reveal a password in an email message.
  • Don’t reveal a password to the boss.
  • Don’t talk about a password in front of others.
  • Don’t hint at the format of a password (e.g., “my family name”).
  • Don’t reveal a password on questionnaire or security forms.
  • Don’t share a password with family members.
  • Don’t reveal a password to co-workers while on vacation.
  • Don’t use the “Remember Password” feature of applications (e.g., Internet Explorer, Eudora, Outlook, Netscape).
  • Don’t write passwords down and store them anywhere in your office.
  • Do not store passwords in a file or ANY computer system (including mobile phones, PDAs, or similar devices) without encryption or any document card.

It is also worth remembering that the user name is the first part of your access code. This is why you need to keep your user name confidential as well.


Hunt, C. Retrieved January 7, 2008 from Pcwebpedia Web site: