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University of Illinois Springfield

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Passwords

One of the greatest problems with strong passwords is that the stronger the passwords are, the more difficult they are to remember. This becomes increasingly difficult as users acquire more passwords while setting up new accounts ranging from online banking accounts to Facebook.

Why strong passwords make sense

While strong passwords can be difficult to remember, it is important to remember that the more complex a password is, the harder it is for attackers to crack. Most attackers will start off with easily guessed passwords such as the username, the location, or even the type of operating system. The following link will rate the strength of a password:

http://www.microsoft.com/protect/yourself/password/checker.mspx

Working with strong passwords

When strong passwords were first introduced on the UIS campus, one method that helped many users was to create an acronym from an easily remembered phrase with at least eight characters and adding a little complexity. For instance, using the phrase “The rain in Spain falls mainly in the plain” would become “Tr!Sfm1tp” or “tr1$fm!tP” depending on typing preferences. To help make password management easier for the university community, the University of Illinois recommends using either KeePass or LastPass to generate and track your passwords. This software uses a master password to protect other passwords using a double-encryption technique along with a timeout feature to close the application if you leave your machine.