Strong Password Guidelines

To protect information and resources, the Washington State Department of Information Services requires strong passwords for all user accounts, including Cascadia network accounts.

Starting on November 18, 2020, Cascadia has moved towards the use of passphrases as opposed to traditional passwords. 

 To be considered strong, your passphrase should:

    • Be at least 14 characters long.
    • While no longer required, you can increase the security of your passphrase and increase the likelihood of the passphrase being accepted by continuing to include characters from each of the following groups: 

Group Examples:

Letters (uppercase)

A, B, C... 

Letters (lowercase)

a,b,c...

Numerals

0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9  

Special Characters (all characters that are not letters or numerals)

' ~ ! @ # $ % ^ & _ + - = { } | [ ] : " ; ' < > ? , .                    

    • Be significantly different from previously used passwords.  If your new passphrase is too similar to your previous one, this will cause the passphrase to be rejected.
    • NOT be a password you are currently using for other online services or websites.
    • NOT contain your name or any part of your full name.  This will cause passphrase to be rejected.
    • NOT contain personal identifiers such as birthdays, social security numbers, or pet's names.
    • NOT be a word found in the dictionary, even if it is spelled backwards.  Using common dictionary words without special characters, unique spellings may cause your passphrase to be rejected.

    • NOT contain consecutive or repetitive characters (e.g. 12345 or aaaaa).  This will cause the passphrase to be rejected.
    • NOT contain the word Cascadia.  This will cause the passphrase to be rejected.
    • NOT be on the list of most commonly used passwords

Examples of Strong Passphrases

A passphrase should be difficult for someone else to guess but easy for you to remember. A good way to choose a strong passphrase is to take an easily remembered phrase, then combine the first letter of each word in the phrase with numbers or characters (including punctuation and/or spaces). 

Creating a password, in some way, from a phrase from a movie, a quote, a song, or a nursery rhyme can be a good strategy for remembering.  Some great examples pulled from The Princess Bride:

NevergetinvolvedinalandwarinAsia. ->

Doyouhavesixfingersonyourlefthand?

Additional resources related to this subject