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Creating strong passwords

Protect your data by setting strong passwords.

About passwords

Armed with your passwords, criminals can get into your online accounts or profiles and steal your money, identity and more besides. They could even try to blackmail you. That's why you should never share your passwords, even with people you trust.

Find out how to create passwords that are practically impossible to crack and what to do if any of them end up in the wrong hands.

  • Never give your passwords to anyone.
  • Create a different password for every account.
  • If you've had your password stolen, change it and report it immediately.

Manage your University password

Keep it secure

The three main ways passwords find their way into the wrong hands are:

  • phishing (fraudulent emails)
  • malware (particularly keylogging programs)
  • companies who don't do enough to keep your information safe.

Creating different strong passwords for every account will limit the damage if your personal details gets leaked.

Make it strong

Create a password that includes a mix of characters and has at least seven characters.

When resetting your password, it is advised to pick a new password that is at least three characters different to your existing password.

Choose the initial letters of words in a line from a favourite song or poem, and replace some of the letters with different character types that look similar. For example: Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? becomes S1ctt@5d

Keep it straight

The simplest way to create a different password for each new login you set up is to add extra characters to the end or beginning of your core password (i.e. your memorable phrase).

If you're worried you won’t be able to remember each one, it's perfectly safe to note the extra characters down, provided you keep your memorable phrase secret. So you might write down, for example, Amazon – i!tt (suffix) or Gmail – pc$0 (prefix).

How to set your password reset questions and answers

The IT Accounts service allows you to set four questions and answers that you can use if you forget your password.

How to set or change your security questions and answers

Related services

Need help?

Male postgraduate student studying in The Studio, Portland Building, University Park


University of Nottingham

University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5151
fax: +44 (0) 115 951 3666
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