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Protecting Your Digital Footprint: Passwords

Further explanation and resources discussed in workshops presented by Dianna Sachs, Scott Russell, and Joshua Enos

Creating Strong and Unique Passwords

There are very few passwords you should have to memorize.  The only passwords I have memorized are my personal Apple ID, my Bronco NetID, my personal Gmail account, my Dashlane master password, and the password to a shared work KeePass file. For those passwords you must memorize:

Use four or more random words or a phrase.

Take inspiration from poetry, books, or movies:

  • HomeWizardRubySlippers (The Wizard of Oz)
  • TartsTreacleCheshireCat (Alice in Wonderland)
  • VogonFishTowelBricks (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy)


Password Managers for Storing Random Passwords

Every other password I use is stored in a password manager.  I use Dashlane for all of my personal accounts and I share a KeePass file with two members of my department for shared work accounts.

Why you should use a password manager

Using a password manager allows you to have incredibly strong passwords that are:

  • Random (yes, you read that right: completely random)
  • Incredibly long (32 characters works in most applications; why not try 64 characters?)
  • Unique to every site or service

Create random, unique passwords by using a random password generator:

I use the following settings when creating random passwords:

  • 32 characters (or more)
  • Include Numbers
  • Include Lowercase Letters
  • Include Uppercase Letters
  • Exclude Similar Characters
  • Exclude Ambiguous Characters

Dr. Scott Russell

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Scooter Russell