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Put A Lock On Your Password — Keep It A Secret

Reality Check

Your NetID and password are powerful assets and give you access to the NU Network, your financial records, private e-mail, and more. By sharing your password with anyone, you jeopardize your security and the security of the NU Network.

And since sharing your password is against Northwestern policy, you also risk losing network access or worse. Only you should know your password—keep it secret.

Check Mark Create a long and strong passphrase/password

Having trouble coming up with a password that's long enough to be secure and also memorable enough so you don't have to write it down? Try using a passphrase!

Think about it this way: a passphrase is a phrase or sentence from which you can generate a password. For example, the passphrase Mypasswordis31characterslong!!! is a secure option that is easy to remember. Song lyrics, phrases, or other sentences are also good options to create long passwords.

Using a phrase as the basis of your password makes it harder to crack and also means you're less likely to forget it. Visit Northwestern IT's Web page about secure passphrases/passwords to learn how to make your passphrase/password secure.

Check Mark Never share your passphrase/password with anyone

Sharing your NetID passphrase/password puts your personal information and the NU Network at risk. It provides access to your financial information, your grades, and all the resources on Northwestern’s Network.

Keep in mind that it is against Northwestern IT policy to share your password with anyone, even your parents. If someone uses your NetID and passphrase/password, and violates University policy, you could be held accountable.

Parents looking to access CAESAR billing and financial aid information can obtain their own login information. Students can register parents as authorized payers and sign them up for guest access.

Check Mark Memorize your passphrase/password

Your memory is the safest place for your password. A piece of paper could be found or a computer file compromised—your memory cannot. That’s why it’s important to use a passphrase/password that you’ll have no trouble remembering.

If you previously answered security questions, you may self-reset a forgotten or expired NetID password by following these steps:

  1. Navigate to the NU Validate log in page
  2. Enter your NetID
  3. Click the Forgot Your Password? button
  4. Answer at least two of your security questions

If you have forgotten or let your NetID password expire and have not answered your security questions, you must contact your NetID administrator or present photo identification at the Northwestern IT Support Center or the Northwestern IT Service Point on the Evanston campus or the Northwestern IT NetID Support Kiosk in Chicago. More information is available at NetID Password Reset Guidelines.

Check Mark Log out completely, especially on public computers

You've probably used a friend's computer before, maybe just for a minute to read e-mail, sign into Facebook, or check a bank account before going to dinner. But did you make sure you logged out of those accounts before giving the computer back?

Forgetting to sign out of your accounts means you've given the next person to use that computer access to your information. Whenever you use a computer that doesn't belong to you—whether it's a friend's or if you use a computer at a computer lab, coffee shop, or library—take an extra moment to be sure you've logged out of anything that could contain personal information.

Last Updated: 13 August 2018

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