How to choose a safe password

Keep your user account protected

Updated over a week ago

The first step in protecting your online privacy is creating a safe password - i.e., one that a computer program or persistent individual won't easily be able to guess in a short period of time. To help you choose a secure password, we use a password strength system to rate your password to determine how easily an attacker can guess your password. Your password must pass the rating strength test to meet the acceptable password standards.

Your password must contain the following:

  • At least 8 characters

  • At least 1 number

  • At least 1 uppercase letter

  • At least 1 lowercase letter

  • At least 1 symbol character: ~!@#$%^&*()+-={}[]:";'<>?,./\|`

  • Must pass the password strength test. See below for tips.

Our interface will provide instant feedback while typing your password to ensure it meets all guidelines. Look for the Strong Password Requirements section on the page to ensure you meet all the requirements.

The strong password requirements section appears adjacent to the New Password field if you're on a desktop/laptop/tablet device and below the new password fields if you're on a small-screen mobile phone device.

As you type, the system will instantly evaluate your password. Once you've successfully met each requirement, the icon next to each will turn to a green checkmark indicating you've fulfilled that requirement. Once all items have a green checkmark, you've successfully met the strong password requirements.

Tips for creating a secure password:

  • Include punctuation marks and/or numbers.

  • Mix capital and lowercase letters.

  • Include similar-looking substitutions, such as the number zero for the letter 'O' or '$' for the letter 'S'.

  • Create a unique acronym.

  • Include phonetic replacements, such as 'Luv 2 Laf' instead of 'Love to Laugh'.

  • Try using made-up words that can't be found in an English dictionary.

Things to avoid:

  • Don't reuse passwords for multiple important accounts, such as email and online banking.

  • Don't use a password that is listed as an example of how to pick a good password.

  • Don't use a password that contains personal information (your name, birth date, year of birth, current year, etc.)

  • Don't use words or acronyms that can be found in an English dictionary.

  • Don't use keyboard patterns (asdf, qwerty, zxcv) or sequential numbers (1234, 9876).

  • Don't make your password all numbers, all uppercase letters or all lowercase letters - mix it up.

  • Don't use repeating characters (aa11).

  • Don't use sports team names or common English dictionary words. (i.e. yankees99, redsox04, cowboys95, hockey1, baseballman22, etc.)

  • Don't use common bad passwords (123456, password, password123, qwerty, abc123, welcome, letmein, baseball, football, etc.)

Tips for keeping your password secure:

  • Never tell your username or password to anyone (this includes your assignor, friends, significant others, roommates, the staff members, parrots, etc.).

  • Never write your password down.

  • Never send your password by email.

  • Periodically test your current password and change it to a new one.

  • Consider using a secure password management service like 1Password, Bitwarden, or LastPass.

  • The Horizon technical support staff will never ask you for your username or password under any circumstance.

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