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Step up your password’s strength

The next time your password expires (180 days after your previous password update), you will need to create a password with a new minimum password length of 12 characters. The previous requirement was 8 characters. Those 12 characters will combine lower and uppercase letters, numbers and special characters.

CU System password requirements as of Feb. 1, 2023:

  • At least one capital letter
  • At least one numeral
  • At least one special character
  • At least 12 characters in length
  • Cannot be one of your previous passwords

We recommend setting a calendar reminder when you update your password for six months later, so you aren’t surprised when the system requests a new password.

Creating a strong password is a critical step to protecting yourself online. Using long, complex passwords is one of the easiest ways to defend yourself from cybercrime. No one is immune to cyber risk, but you can minimize your chances of an incident by following these guidelines:

1. Make your passwords hard to guess.

Do not include personal information in your password such as your name or pets’ names. This information is often easy to find on social media, making it easier for cybercriminals to hack your accounts.

2. Avoid using common words.

Substitute letters with numbers and punctuation marks or symbols. For example, @ can replace the letter “A” and an exclamation point (!) can replace the letters “I” or “L.” Get creative. Use phonetic replacements, such as “PH” instead of “F”. Or make deliberate, but apparent misspellings, such as “enjin” instead of “engine.”

3. Unique account: unique password.

Having different passwords for various accounts helps prevent cybercriminals from gaining access to these accounts and protects you in the event of a breach. It’s important to mix things up — find easy-to-remember ways to customize your standard password for different sites.

4. Utilize a password manager to remember passwords.

The most secure way to store all your unique passwords is by using a password manager. Requiring just one complex password for you to remember, a password manager can create and save passwords for every account that you have — protecting your online information, including credit card numbers and their three-digit codes, answers to security questions, and more.

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