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On the Topic of Passwords

Issue 38, Spring 2007

by Linc Nesheim

It takes a little time to create the perfect password. It has to be easy to remember. It has to be easy to type. It has to meet the password "rules." After all, the password serves a very important function in today's increasingly connected digital world - it keeps your information accountable to you and only you.

Having a good password is one thing, but if that password remains the same for a long period of time, it becomes an easier target for hackers. Think how hard it is to find your car keys when you lose them... now think how hard it would be to find them if they were moving around while you were looking for them.

Car keys and passwords are obviously two different things. You want your car keys to be in the same spot every day, but they would be safer from criminals if they weren't in a predictable location.

It's much easier to point hundreds of thousands of computer connections at an account over a few seconds than it is for 500 criminals to go looking for your car keys - hence the need to keep those passwords changing.

Step one in good password management is selecting a strong password. Step two is changing that password at some frequency.

To this end, Information Technology Services will begin a password "aging" process sometime this spring. Those of you who directly access Banner resources on campus may already be familiar with the need to change your password from time to time, so this shouldn't be a big change. Those of you who don't change your password very often are encouraged to get into the habit. Once you are in the habit, any policy changes around the use of WWU passwords won't inconvenience you.

Learn more at the WWU Password Change web page.

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