The Catholic University of America

Using a Strong Password

The password to your account or computer is the first line of defense in protecting you and your data from intruders. It is important that you select a strong password.

Selecting a New Password

When you select a new password, there are some steps you can take to ensure that your password is strong.

At least 8 characters long, with a complex mix of character types

The new password should be at least eight characters long, and include at least three of these four types of characters:

  1. lower case letters (a-z)
  2. upper case letters (A-Z)
  3. numbers (0-9)
  4. punctuation, such as: $_!-#

Use a Passphrase

The best passwords are "passphrases": a series of words (phrases) with non-standard spellings, punctuation and numbers. For example, "My dog Spot" might become "m!doGspT476" (don't use this one!). By using phrases, you can create a secure password that is easy for you to remember.

Longer passwords are more secure, so select a passphrase that is as long as possible while still being easy for you to use regularly. (Think of what you could make from "Oh, say can you see, by the dawn's early light," for example!)

Additional Resources

Keep your Password Secret

Strong passwords protect you from malicious individuals who might want to break into your account. Security is only as strong as the weakest link. Please help keep the system secure by keeping your own account secure.

Your new password is known only to you. Be sure to keep it secret, as you are responsible for the use of your computer account. No one needs to know your password, even tech support staff (they should never ask, and you should never tell).

More Information

Students have two CUA logon accounts, one for CUA Network (which can access Cardinal Station, Blackboard, etc) and Cardinal Mail (Google Apps). Faculty and staff have one, CUA Network which will also access Cardinal Station. Information about these accounts, including how to reset a forgotten password is available on this website.