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Education & Training

Office of Information Security

Password Safety

As a Penn State community member, it’s important to create strong passwords—or even better, pass phrases—for your Penn State Account and all your other online accounts.

keep passwords safe


Using strong passwords is one of the most important ways to keep personal and Penn State information secure. While it might seem daunting to create a password without using easy-to-remember information, relying on a series of words and using memory techniques can help you remember even the most complex passwords.

The following guidelines can help you create strong passwords:

  • Choose a phrase that’s unique and familiar just to you.
  • Make new passwords different from your other passwords.
  • Don’t use words found in the dictionary or personal information like dates, names, and addresses.
  • Combine the first part of each word in a phrase, mixing at least 15 numbers, characters, and letters.
  • For example, “I love to play badminton” could become “ILuv2PlayB@dm1nt()n.”

keep passwords safe


Creating and using strong passwords does little to protect personal information if those passwords are not kept confidential. It might seem harmless to share passwords with those you trust (like parents and significant others), but the more people who know this information, the higher the chances of passwords falling into the wrong hands. Rather than writing down passwords to remember them, you can use a password manager to generate, store, and retrieve your passwords.

set security questions

Set security questions

Don’t get locked out of your Penn State Account. Taking a few minutes to set your security questions will help you easily reset your password online in case you forget or lose it. If you don’t establish security questions, you’ll need to visit the Accounts Office at University Park or a campus signature station to reset your password.