Password Tips & Advice

Passphrases (or passwords) are like house keys to your personal home online. Making your passwords as strong as possible helps keep your information secure, both at home and at University of Alaska.


  • Make your passphrase a sentence: A strong passphrase is a sentence that is at least 12 characters long. Focus on positive sentences or phrases that you like to think about and are easy to remember (for example, “Monday sudoku is my favorite!”). On many systems, you can even use spaces!

  • Unique account, unique passphrase: Having separate passphrases for every account helps to thwart cybercriminals. Always make sure that your critical accounts have unique and strong passphrases.

  • Document it and keep it safe: Everyone can forget a passphrase. Keep a list that’s stored in a safe, secure place away from your computer. You can alternatively use a service like a password manager to keep track of your passphrases!
  • Never use personal information: Your name, someone you know, and miscellaneous facts about you could be guessed or discovered through a breach.

  • Never use common single words or strings of numbers: Dictionary words are easily guessed.  The number one most breached password in 2020 (according to NordPass) was '123456' which was used by 2,543,285 people. 

  • Never share your passwords with anyone: Protect your identity and sensitive personal information by keeping your password private. 

Strengthen Your Account Security with Multifactor Authentication

Fortify your online accounts by enabling the strongest authentication tools available, such as biometrics, security keys or a unique one-time code through an app on your mobile device. Your usernames and passphrases are not enough to protect key accounts like email, banking and social media.

More and more websites are requiring stronger, multifactored authentication. Some of your online accounts may offer multifactor authentication already!

Strong Authentication Protects You and the University

At University of Alaska, your account may be able to access student and employee information, research data, or other restricted data that could damage the university if your account was compromised. Your UA Google account offers strong authentication in the form of Google’s 2-Step Verification, which is available on an opt-in basis. Enabling it is easy - you can read more about it at Google and if you have questions or need help, ask your local Service Desk!

Adapted from our partnership with Stop.Think.Connect.