UC San Diego SearchMenu

Password Security

Passwords are an important aspect of computer security, and serve as the first line of defense in preventing unauthorized access to campus computers and data. A poorly chosen password may result in unauthorized access and/or exploitation of UCSD's resources.

The following sections outline the minimum standards for password security. Increased complexity or requirements above the minimum are encouraged wherever possible, and may be required in environments which process sensitive or regulated information. Please check with your local IT support team for the password requirements for your area. All users, including contractors and vendors with access to UCSD systems, are responsible for taking the appropriate steps, as outlined below, to select and secure their passwords. If an account or password compromise is suspected, report the incident to the UCSD security team (security@ucsd.edu). For additional information see the UC San Diego Password Standards

Expand all

Password Standards

Active Directory (AD) Password Requirements

  • Be different from the previous three passwords
  • Be at least 7 characters long
  • Have characters from at least 3 of the following 4 categories:
    • uppercase,
    • lowercase,
    • numbers,
    • symbols

Business Systems Password Requirements

  • Be 6 to 8 characters of mixed alphabetic, numeric, @, #, or $.
  • Not contain a common word found in a dictionary

Password Best Practices

Password Best Practices

Password length is more secure than complexity. It’s better to have a longer password with less complexity (i.e. 15+ characters) than a 7-8 character with lots of complexity.

PassPhrases: Try to create passwords that can be easily remembered. For example, the phrase might be: "This May Be One Way To Remember" and the password could be formed using the first character of each word in the phase, such as: "TmB1w2R!" or "Tmb1W>r~" or some other variation.

NOTE: Do not use any of these examples as passwords!

Avoid Using Weak Passwords. Weak passwords have the following characteristics:

  • The password contains too few characters
  • The password is a word found in a dictionary (English or foreign)
  • The password is a common usage word such as:
  • Names of family, pets, friends, co-workers, fantasy characters, etc.
  • Computer terms and names, commands, sites, companies, hardware, software.
  • The words "<Company Name>", "sanjose", "sanfran" or any derivation.
  • Birthdays and other personal information such as addresses and phone numbers.
  • Word or number patterns like aaabbb, qwerty, zyxwvuts, 123321, etc.
  • Any of the above spelled backwards.
  • Any of the above preceded or followed by a digit (e.g., secret1, 1secret)

Password Protection

Password Protection Standards

  • Use different passwords for UCSD accounts from other non-UCSD access (e.g., personal ISP account, option trading, benefits, etc.).
  • When possible, use different passwords for different UCSD systems. For example, select one password for Active Directory) and use a different password for Single Sign On
  • Do not share UCSD passwords with anyone, including administrative assistants or secretaries. All passwords are to be treated as sensitive, confidential UCSD information.
  • Passwords should never be written down or stored on-line without encryption.
  • Do not reveal a password in email, chat, or other electronic communication.
  • Do not hint at the format of a password (e.g., "my family name")
  • Do not reveal a password on questionnaires or security forms
  • If someone demands a password, refer them to this document and direct them to the UCSD Security Team (security@ucsd.edu).
  • Always decline the use of the "Remember Password" feature of applications (e.g., Outlook, Internet Explorer, etc.).

Expand all