Computing Password Guidelines

Passphrase and Password Details

Passwords are the most frequently utilized form of authentication for accessing valuable information resources. These guidelines describe Macalester College's recommendations for creating and using passwords in ways that maximize their effectiveness. They apply to anyone accessing systems that hold or transmit Macalester College information.

The keys to password strength are length, complexity and time to refresh, especially length. An ideal password is long and includes letters and numbers. How to create and protect strong passwords

  • Minimum length: 8 characters; 15 characters or more are recommended in order to be an effective passphrase.
  • Maximum lengh: 30 characters
  • Complexity: Use a variety numbers and uppercase and lowercase letters.
  • Special characters are not allowed. Using a speical character may render some web applications inaccesible.
  • Spaces and underscrores are not allowed.
  • Phrases: Ordinary words are allowed, provided they are chosen randomly to create a password with at least 15 characters.
  • Do not use personal identifiable information: Usernames, ID numbers, phone numbers, names of family members.
  • Passwords and passphrases must be changed every 12 months.