change your password

Restricting use of breached or commonly used passwords 

July 2019

A recent change to the WatIAM system will now prevent employees from setting a password that has been identified as one of over 520 million breached or commonly used passwords. This change will help protect against two growing security risks:

Credential stuffing
The automated injection of breached username/password pairs to gain access to user accounts. 

Password spraying
Attempting to gain access to a large number of user accounts using common passwords (made more available by the increase in breaches over the years).  

 

 Learn more about password security best practices and guidelines.

 
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Phishing prevention
fishing hook with emails

Don't get hooked. Learn how to protect yourself against phishing attempts. 

What is phishing? 

Phishing is the act of contacting people via telephone, email or text message while impersonating government or business officials with the intention of stealing private information and data to commit identify theft and financial theft.

Financial spear phishing threats are referred to as finphishing. Read more about this growing threat.

How do I identify a phishing attempt? 

What can I do to protect myself against phishing attempts? 

  • Use email spam filters to block out potentially harmful emails.
  • Think before you click on links in messages that appear to be from legitimate senders but are urging you to provide your personal or financial information.
  • Use an anti-virus software to help your devices detect malware and phishing attacks.
 
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Password management
weak password notification

Don't put yourself at risk. Use a stronger password and enable two-factor authentication.

What do I need to consider when choosing a password?

  • Use a complex password that uses a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters.
  • Avoid using information that is commonly known about you (birthday, pet's name, etc.).
  • Use a passphrase instead of a password.
  • Passphrase: a password made up of multiple words.

What is two-factor authentication?

  • Two-factor authentication is an extra layer of security that requires you to verify your identity using a mobile .device before allowing you to login.
  • Always use two-factor authentication when possible.

What are some password best practices? 

  • Use different passwords for each account.
  • Manage passwords using a password manager.
  • Do not save passwords or enter your personal information onto non-secure websites (URLs should begin with https://).
  • Learn more about password standards.
 
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Data security
Secure your data. Online and offline.

Secure your data. Online and offline.

How do I keep my personal devices safe? 

  • Install an anti-virus software on your computer to defend yourself against cyber threats.
  • Do not store unencrypted files containing personal information such as usernames and passwords on your computer.
  • Don't leave your devices unattended in public areas.
  • Don't access your bank or work accounts on public computers.

How do I keep my data secure?  

 

Report suspicious activity

Contact the IST Security Operations Centre team

Envelope

soc@uwaterloo.ca