Cybersecurity Awareness Month: Passwords

  • October 12th, 2020

Passwords: everybody has them, nobody likes them, but now it’s easier than ever to manage them. Learn password best practices from the Office of Information Technology.


Take the guesswork out of passwords with LastPass, a password management tool, free for UA students, faculty and staff. LastPass can store and create strong passwords for your online accounts, and is available as both smartphone app and browser extension..

LastPass recommends strong passwords for each of your accounts, then secures them in the LastPass vault; that way, the only password you have to remember is your LastPass password. Get started with LastPass on the OIT website.

Longer Password = Stronger Password

The longer the password, the stronger the password. Most online sites require that passwords be at least eight or 12 characters, (but if you ask an OIT Security team member, they’re likely to say 64 characters). Try using a phrase as a password, something easy for you to remember, but complex for a hacker to uncover.

Unique Passwords

Chances are, a password you have used is on the dark web. When websites are breached, hackers will take usernames and passwords from that website, and post them on the dark web for sale. If you had a Marriott, T-Mobile or Panera online account (just to name a few), chances are the username and password for that account have been made available. This is why it is important to use a different password for online accounts, especially accounts with access to sensitive information.

Use Multi-Factor Authentication

Whenever available, use multi-factor authentication. Most online accounts now offer multi-factor authentication: you can enter your cell phone number to receive a text notification and validate your account. Duo is the multi-factor authentication system at UA, but OIT encourages the use of multi-factor whenever it is offered. Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and most online banking websites now offer multi-factor protection.

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. OIT will be posting cyber safety tips throughout the month. For more information about UA cybersecurity practices, visit the OIT website.

The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.