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Frequently Asked Questions

What are Dalhousie’s password requirements?

As of March 7th, 2024, new passwords:

  1. Must be at least 16 characters long.
  2. Must not contain insecure words, such as your own name.

No complexity requirements (UPPERCASE, lowercase, numbers, etc.) will be enforced. These requirements are in accordance with Dalhousie's Authentication and Password Standard.

What is a passphrase?

Dalhousie recommends the use of passphrases instead of passwords to meet its 16-character password requirement. What is a passphrase? To quote the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security:

A passphrase is a memorized phrase consisting of a sequence of mixed words with or without spaces. Your passphrase should be at least 4 words in length. For example, you might create a passphrase by using association techniques, such as scanning a room in your home and creating a passphrase that uses words to describe what you see (for example, “Closet Lamp Bathroom Mug”).

What is a password manager?

A password manager is a service that stores all your passwords securely. Many password managers will generate strong passwords and autofill them into websites, so that you don’t need to memorize every password. This means all your important accounts will each have a unique, strong passwords. Remember that you should never reuse the same password for many sites. 

What are the advantages of a password manager?

Password managers can:

  1. Help spot fake webpages, as the autofill feature only works on authentic URLs. This protects against phishing attacks.
  2. Warn you if you are reusing passwords across sites.
  3. Notify you if your password appears in a known data breach.
  4. Synchronize passwords between devices, such as between your phone and your laptop.

If you are keeping track of many passwords, as we all do these days, consider using a password manager such as LastPass, 1Password, or BitWarden.