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Queen's University

Choosing A Strong Password

When creating a new password or changing your NetID password (for information visit the Password Change page), give it some thought.


The best passwords are a completely random string of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special symbols (#, @, $, !, etc). The trouble with this is that such passwords are very hard to remember and you will be tempted to write them down, which is not good practice. However, if you must write down a password, do not keep it with the corresponding username! 

Approaches to Creating Strong Passwords


  • You could try putting together an acronym that is special to you. For example, "NotFsW" - none of this fancy stuff works, or "TTL*hiWw" - twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what...

Pass Phrases:

  • When you create a password for a site, you might think of a phrase you associate with the site and use an abbreviation or variation of that phrase as your password - just don't use the actual words of the site. If it's a long phrase, you can take the first letter of each word, and increase its strength by making some letters uppercase and swapping out some letters with numbers or symbols. As an example, the phrase for your banking website could be "How much money do I have?" and the password could be "#m$d1H4ve?"[from Google]


Note: Do not use these passwords because they have been published.

Strong Password Guidelines

  • Use a combination of upper and lower case characters, numbers, and symbols.
  • Choose a minimum of 8 characters in length (Note: PeopleSoft access requires a minimum of 10 characters).
  • Use different passwords for different accounts.
  • Memorize your password; however, if you must write it down, don't keep it with your userid! And, put it in a secure place locked.
  • Don't use words that can be found in a dictionary of any language.
  • Don't give your password to anyone!
  • Don't use someone's name (even spelled backward).
  • Don't use your birthdate.
  • Don't use your pet's name.
  • Don't use words spelled backwards.
  • Don't use words with numbers added only to the beginning or end.
  • Don't use words from different languages.
  • Don't use corrupted versions of a word by replacing certain letters with certain numbers, for example replacing an "e" with a "3" or an "o" with a "0".

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