Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Password Advice

Choosing a strong password not only protects your own data, but also protects others who use the department's systems. If your account is compromised, your data will be compromised, but it could also lead to a larger problem on the system as a whole.

General password tips

Password Managers

As people have more and more online accounts, keeping up with good practices like having a different password for every site or organization can become difficult or impossible. Thus for anyone now, a password manager should probably be a standard tool to use.

The University of Tennessee currently has a contract with LastPass for all faculty and staff. You should take advantage of these opportunity. LastPass has a great quantity of documentation on security, encryption, and related topics for those that wish to learn, it supports more advanced authentication techniques, such as two-factor authentication, it has browser plugins for several major browsers, and best of all, it is FREE to you if you.

If you are faculty or staff, you should contact the OIT helpdesk to get access to your premium account.

If you are a student, you can still get the free version of LastPass. Please see for more information.

How often you should change your password

The University recommends that you change your password every 180 days. (See the University of Tennessee's password page.)

Choosing Good Passwords

Using a password manager, you should be able to create completely random passwords. Yet with a password manager, you may still have to remember a few passwords. Here are some techniques to help you do so.

Choosing characters at random can make a very strong password; however, such as password is likely to be forgotten. The best way to make a secure, seemingly-random password is to use a mnemonic. This can be done by choosing a saying, song lyric, or poem verse and use the first letter of each word as one part of the password. For example, "Blue canary in the outlet by the light switch" (TMBG - Birdhouse in Your Soul) could be written as:


Using a little bit of clever replacement, this password can become:


(Note: Now that this password is posted online it should never be used.)

When you are typing your password, just think about the song and you can recall all of the letters or replacements. In short time, you will become accustomed to the password and will have little trouble remembering it.

If passwords are over 20 characters in length (i.e., passphrases), the restrictions can be relaxed. Thus you can use an English-language sentence such as:

Yikes! I'm writing a passphrase to log in.

EECS Passwords Linked to NetID

On May 5, 2014 at noon, all EECS accounts will begin using NetID passwords rather than separate EECS passwords. This has been the department policy for new accounts for over a year, but will now apply to older accounts as well. Please see the frequently asked questions below for more information.


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The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System