VIU Aerial View

Password Security

For more information about the Password Standard, visit: How Do I Change My Password?

Passwords are like keys to a lock, only in this case they are the keys you use to access and protect personal information stored on your computer and in your network / online accounts. Just as you wouldn't give everyone on the street a key to your house, don't make it easy for an intruder to gain access to your information by giving out your password, posting it on you workstation, or making it easy for someone to guess.

Strong Passwords - Dos and Don'ts:


  • Do make it long. It must be at least 8 characters or more.
  • Do combine letters, case, numbers and symbols. The password must contain any three of a capital letter, a lower-case letter, a number, or a symbol.
  • Do avoid using common words in your password. Hackers can use a dictionary attack to guess your password.
  • Do use words and phrases that are easy for you to remember but difficult for others to guess, such as using the first letter of each word in a sentence. To add complexity replace by using upper and lower case letters, and substituting numbers and symbols for letters. (Try not to use easy to guess substitutions such as @ for the letter a and the number 0 for the letter o).
  • Do, if possible, make each password you use unique.
  • Do make the password practical. If you need to refer to a piece of paper every time you log on you are defeating the purpose of making a strong password.
  • Do change your password regularly. Your password will expire every six months, and you will be required to slect a new one.
  • Do protect any recorded passwords by storing them somewhere safe.


  • Don't use any examples of strong passwords that you have seen online or in a book (including those listed under Suggestions below).
  • Don't use personal information (such as your login name), or adjacent keys on the keyboard (such as 12345 or asdfg).
  • Don't share your password.


  • Use the first letter from a title or line in a song, book or poem
    • For example, "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways." would produce HdIlt?Lmctw.
  • Use a password generator
  • Use letters and numbers to create an imaginary vanity plate
    • For example, IH8rain!
  • Use two short words connected by numbers and characters
    • For example, park*6Bank
  • Test the strength of your password
    • The Password Meter web utility tests the strength of your passwords as you type them, scoring your password strength based on a number of positive and negative password attributes. The test measures your password's number of characters, type of characters used, and the order of your characters. (Sequential letters or numbers, for example, equals weak passwords). For security reasons, they recommend using the meter to test a password similar to one you plan on using.

How do I get help with this service?

How Do I Change My Password?


Phone: 250-740-6300 (local 6300)

Who can use this service?

Students and Employees

When is this service available?

Support for this service is available: M-F 8:00 - 4:30

Service is available: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week except during scheduled and unscheduled maintenance.

Our technology advisory provides up-to-date information about the operations of Vancouver Island University's Information Technology systems and services.