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Beyond words

Use passphrases for online accounts

Passphrases are passwords consisting of three or more random words put together to create a phrase that is harder to hack.

The Postal Service is reminding employees and contractors that passwords like 123456 might be easy to remember, but they are also easy for online criminals to hack.

Simple passwords are easily deciphered by software used by cybercriminals to hack into accounts. Compromised passwords lead to account breaches.

Passwords that incorporate special characters instead of letters aren’t much of a challenge either, because the software recognizes “predictable strategies meant to make passwords more complex,” according to a report on the Guardian news site.

Passphrases — passwords that consist of three or more random words strung together to create phrases — are more difficult to hack, the report noted.

The FBI recommends using passphrases, which can also incorporate special characters, as online passwords

Employees and contractor are reminded that USPS passwords — including passphrases — must be at least 15 characters in length for all internal platforms (except mobile devices) and include the following:

• One uppercase letter;

• One lowercase letter; and

• One numeral.

Employees and contractors are encouraged to avoid using personal information, such as family names and birthdays, and to not repeat letters or characters.

The USPS Management Instruction on Password Complexity and the CyberSafe at USPS Blue and LiteBlue pages have more information.