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Stay Safe: Upgrade your Password

By Marisela Lugo

Published December 1, 2015

Marisela Lugo (UB Student, Class of 2017) was born and raised in Bronx, NY. She is an active member in UB's Latin-based clubs: PODER and LASA. After assisting with and appearing in Cosmopolitan for Latinas’ Summer 2015 fashion forecast, she decided to major in Communications and Media Studies with dreams of working in print media.

Passwords are designed to protect your personal information, but sometimes passwords get stolen. Whether through applications designed to crack passwords, or by someone pretending to be a computer support person on the telephone, your password can fall into the wrong hands…and with it, your identity. Simply changing your password regularly can minimize the damage.

When passwords are stolen, the damage isn’t always immediate. Often, criminal syndicates amass a large quantity of usernames and passwords before using them for spamming and selling to third parties.

By regularly changing your password, you’re more likely to keep your email and accounts private. To make it even harder for someone to crack your password, consider using a strong passphrase.

Passphrase- the next generation in passwords

Changing your password to a passphrase makes it virtually impossible for others to guess. A secure passphrase uses a short phrase instead of a single word and then change some of the letters out for numbers and characters. For example, “iced tea is great for summer” becomes “!cedTisgr84$umm3R” or the phrase “book 451 Bradbury” becomes “bO()K451BR^Dbury.”

A successful passphrase will:

  • Not include your UBITName
  • Not be the same as other passphrases you’re currently using
  • Not be limited to a single word, forward or backward
  • Not contain more than three sequential characters on a keyboard
  • Not contain more than two consecutive repeating characters
  • Not contain all numbers, such as a birth or anniversary
  • Not be shared with anyone for any reason

Taking these steps can prevent someone from gaining access to your email account to read or send email, or access services like MyUB or HUB Student Center, which could lead to identity theft. It will also prevent someone from getting information about your registered devices at UB, or register their own device on your UB account.