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How are Villanova User ID’s and passwords created?

Passwords for new employee and student UserIDs are randomly generated. Creation of new accounts is run daily and is communicated to the individual user via postal mail explaining the use of the UserID, password, and homepage URL.

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What are the new complexity password requirements?

All new passwords issued by Villanova will have the following guidelines:

  • At least 1 upper and lower case letter
  • At least 1 number
  • At least 1 special character e.g. %, $, ( < >  ' "
  • Must have at least 5 unique characters
  • At least 8 characters in length
  • Passwords cannot contain personal information such as: first name, last name, User ID, contact information, etc.
  • The exclamation point is not permitted in the password.

The symbol for exclamation point has been excluded.


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What if a user is new to the University, will the password meet the new complexity password requirements?

  • Yes, all new accounts that are created will have met the new complexity password requirements.
  • New users can change their VU issued password, but the password change must meet the complexity requirements stated above.
  • Changed passwords can not contain personal information such as: first name, last name, User ID, contact information, etc.


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What are some tips to help me create a strong complex password?

  • Think of a sentence that you can remember. This will be the basis of your strong password or pass phrase. Use a memorable sentence, such as "MysonAidenisthreeyearsold".
  • Check if the computer or online system supports the pass phrase directly (Maximum of 50 characters for Villanova's Network).
  • Take the first letter of each word of the sentence that you've created to create a new, nonsensical word. Using the example above, you'd get: "msaityo".
  • Add complexity by mixing uppercase and lowercase letters and numbers. It is valuable to use some letter swapping or misspellings as well. For instance, in the pass phrase above, consider misspelling Aiden's name, or substituting the word "three" for the number 3. There are many possible substitutions, and the longer the sentence, the more complex your password can be. Your pass phrase might become "MySoNAyd3Nis3yeeRsold." Or use the same technique on the shorter password. This might yield a password like "MsAiy3yo".
  • Finally, substitute some special characters. You can use symbols that look like letters, combine words and other ways to make the password more complex. Using these tricks, we create a pass phrase of "My$oN8Nis3yeeR$old" or a password (using the first letter of each word) "M$8ni3y0".

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How will the new password format be implemented for existing users?

If an existing user changes his/her password in the following ways, he/she will then be required to use the new complexity password requirements:

  • Self Service Password Reset (SSPR)
  • Change Password
  • Contacting Technology Support Services

If an existing user does not change his/her password, he/she may keep their current password even if it does not meet the new complexity password requirements

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Will the University ever support expiring user passwords?

Yes, Beginning in January 2016, the University will be implementing annual password expiration for all Faculty and Staff Villanova accounts. 

This University approved policy and process change is part of the ongoing IT Security and Information Protection initiative that follows acknowledged IT security best practices, which protect Villanova University systems, data, network and individual identity information. 

All Faculty and Staff will be prompted on an annual basis to change their Villanova password.  The process will happen in a phased approach based on the month you last changed your password.  Example, if you last changed your password on July 8, 2011, you will now be prompted to change your password on July 8, 2016.    

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What are some strategies to avoid when trying create a complex password?

  • Do not use personal information such as address, age, birthday, or your User ID in your password
  • Do not use words, previous passwords, common passwords, patterns or sequences on the keyboard, such as ‘q1w2e3’ or ‘asdfg’ in your password
  • Do not repeat letters, numbers, or symbols, such as 111111 or )))))))

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Please remember to be aware of the following:

  • Do NOT give your password to anyone
  • Do NOT email your password
  • Do NOT write down your password
  • Do NOT use “Remember Password” features on any applications

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