Help Desk: (814)865-HELP security@psu.edu

Password Safety.

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

Create strong passwords

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

Don’t get locked out of your Penn State Access 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.