The strength of passwords

At UC it is recommended that passwords of 10-16 characters in length are created and used for UC systems.

A password of 12 characters is estimated to be 13 million times stronger than an eight character password and a 16 character password is estimated to be over 166 trillion times stronger than an 8 character password.

Some accounts are more important than others, especially your work and your bank accounts, and it is important to have individual passwords for them, plus one more for your individual password manager. A password manager will help you store and retrieve complex passwords from a personal encrypted database.

With the help of a password manager you only need to remember three passwords:

  1. One for banking
  2. One for work
  3. One for the personal password manager - see more information below.

Tips to creating robust passwords:

  • Don't use common dictionary words, such as orange, car, password
  • Don't use sequential letters or numbers i.e. 12345, abcde
  • Don't use repeated letters or numbers or keyboard patterns i.e. 111, aaa, qwerty, asdfg

Using the same password for everything can seem like a good idea, but security breaches are happening more and more frequently. Using the same password means hackers only need to crack or steal the password from one place to have access to all of your personal information. Take a moment to think about how secure your passwords are.

Password managers

A password manager is like a locked safe that holds your different passwords to different sites and accounts, and applies the correct password to the correct site. Good ones are encrypted to keep your account data safe. A master password is used to access your password manager, so use the tips and rules above to create a master password. A long odd sentence with no spaces is a good solution. For example Thislittlepiggywenttomarket.

Some password managers incorporate two factor authentication which will keep your master password even more secure. Two factor authentication is a process that involves entering your password as well as another action such as answering a predetermined security question or entering a code that is sent to a preregistered device like your cell phone.

Recommended password managers

Use a password manager with a good reputation - try one of these recommended by UC IT:

 

How to Report a Cybersecurity Incident

Log a ticket
on the IT Self Service portal 

Visit the IT Service Desk
located in the Central Library

Email us on report-phishing@canterbury.ac.nz
with the phishing email attached and ensuring header of scam email is included

Ring the IT Service Desk
0508 UC IT HELP (0508 824 843) or
03 369 5000