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New website makes it easier to create strong, memorable passwords

 All those com#plic$ate%d passwords can now go away.

The whole password thing at USU just got a lot easier.

It’s no longer necessary to come up with a complicated password that includes lots of numbers, randomly-placed uppercase letters and symbols like these: “@#%^*&,” according to Utah State University’s Office of Information Technology.

Richard Macdonald has headed up a team that has created MyID, a one-stop place the USU community can visit to update passwords, email, and home addresses or just to find their A-numbers. One of the new features MyID offers is the ability to type passphrases. A passphrase could be something simple like, “I love my mother and apple pie.” It’s even better if the combination of words people use are more random, such as, “debate dog frog tree.” Passphrases can even include spaces, if that’s how people want to write them.

“Studies show that password length has a larger effect on password strength than character variety alone,” Macdonald said. “In other words, a 20-character password sentence containing only lower-case letters and spaces can offer higher security than an eight-character password containing numbers, letters and special symbols. Until recently, however, certain software restricted the maximum length a USU password could be.”

MyID, which is found at myid.usu.edu, replaces id.usu.edu/password as the website Aggies visit to make password adjustments.

"MyID aims to reduce password-related calls to the IT Service Desk by making it easier for people to lookup their A-number, reset and change their strong password and verify their USU profile information," Macdonald said. "Passwords are something that we all struggle with, especially on mobile devices. We hope that MyID and the new password policy will make passwords easier for people at USU."

MyID also allows Aggies to set up account delegates, family or friends, as people who are authorized to access personal information on someone’s behalf while they are away. This can be helpful if a student is away on military leave, serving in their church, or just away temporarily.

Anthony Hildebrant talks about MyID at a recent conference.

Anthony Hildebrandt, of the MyID team, talks about the new website at a recent conference.