ITS Fall COVID-19 Updates

Password hygiene protects your accounts and personal information by reducing the risk of someone stealing your password.

If you need to change or reset your password, you can find more information on our Password Help documentation.

Why Does Password Hygiene Matter?

Password hygiene reduces the risk of someone stealing your password. If your password is stolen—either through guessing, phishing, or simple oversharing⁠—whoever knows your password can use your Middlebury account for malicious purposes. This means they can:

  • Send phishing emails in your name. This can result in blacklisting where other educational institutions or companies block all email from your address or even all Middlebury  addresses.
  • Access your personal information and any information you have access to. This can be especially serious if you handle financial, health, or any other kind of student or personnel records.
  • Steal contact information for other members of Middlebury to add them to spam sending lists.
  • Break into Middlebury computers and infect them with malware that steals more passwords or personal information.

All of these malicious actions use your compromised account, which puts your reputation at risk along with your data and personal information.

These three principles can help improve your password hygiene and reduce the risk of someone stealing your password.

Use Strong Passwords

Middlebury requires strong passwords. (You can read more about the exact requirements in our password policy.) This increases your safety in several ways:

  • If you happen to use your password on a computer infected with malware that spies on what you’re typing, it’s significantly more difficult for the malware to record a complex password.
  • Complex passwords are more difficult for brute-force password cracking programs to guess. The more complex the password, the longer it takes to guess, which gives other network security measures like account lockout time to kick in.

Don’t Reuse Passwords

Don’t reuse passwords between accounts, especially if you signed up for a service with your Middlebury email account. If your password is compromised, whoever gains access to it will also try to use for your other accounts. Reusing passwords means that if one account is compromised, all of your accounts are compromised. For example: if you use the same password for online shopping, banking, and your Middlebury account, a data breach at that online retailer would result in all of those accounts being compromised.

Don’t Share Passwords

It may seem harmless to give your coworker your password so they can do something on your computer or use your account for something, but this is an unnecessary risk. While your coworker is probably well-intentioned, they could misplace your password or share it with someone else. If your coworker needs access to a particular system they don’t already have permission for (such as Banner), they must request their own access.

Knowing you should never share your password also puts you on your guard when someone pretending to be a coworker or ITS staff asks for your password.

Contact our help desk for more information or for any questions or concerns.

Information Technology Services
Davis Family Library 202
Middlebury, VT 05753

helpdesk@middlebury.edu
(802) 443-2200