July 7, 2016

Create strong, unique passwords to protect your digital identity

Good passwords protect your information.

Good passwords protect your information.

Over the past few weeks, LinkedIn, MySpace and Tumblr announced that millions of user accounts were compromised. The actual theft of login credentials for these websites occurred in 2012 and 2013, but there is evidence that hackers are only now offering or selling these stolen login credentials for malicious purposes online.

If your login credentials for LinkedIn, MySpace or Tumblr were compromised, your stolen credentials could be used for unauthorized access, and in some cases, illegal activities. If you use the same login credentials for other accounts, such as your bank, credit cards, or utilities, or for remote access to your computing devices, you are at great risk of personal and financial loss. VUMC IT strongly recommends that you proactively change your passwords for the above services, especially if a password matches your financial and other personal services.

Protect yourself by using a strong, unique password for each of your computing devices, online accounts and web applications. 

To create a strong, unique password:  

  • The password should not be easily guessed by hackers or automated programs.
  • Use a long passphrase of multiple words with both symbols and numbers instead of using a single word.
  • If you must store your passwords, use a specialized application known as a password manager to securely store your unique passwords in an encrypted format.
  • If you are using remote access tools (such as GoToMyPC or TeamViewer), research the tools’ risks and limit their use appropriately.  

For more tips on creating stronger passwords, visit IT’s Guidelines for Passwords.

For more information about this information security advisory, contact the VUMC IT Help Desk by calling 615-343-HELP.