Division of Information Technology Services

Western Password Policy

The Western password policy is intended to enforce passwords which are more difficult for the hacker community to crack or decode.  Although you can change your password yourself, it must adhere to a number of conditions.  Currently these conditions include:

NOTE: the former passwords are examples only and should not be used as your password.

Passwords Must Not Contain

< (less than symbol)

> (greater than symbol)

First Name

Middle Name

Last Name

The policy implements passwords which are difficult, but not impossible, to crack.  They are also difficult to construct as they essentially random character sequences.  The more complex the password, the more difficult it is to guess and this will normally deter any attempts to crack the password because it is too difficult or time-consuming.

There are a number programs, freely available on the Internet, that can be used to systematically guess passwords.  Statistically, by using longer passwords (e.g. 8 characters instead of 6) and a greater variety of characters (e.g. upper AND lowercase characters, numeric values, special characters, etc.), you can extend the likely time it would take for the computer-generated "guessing" attempts to "crack" your password from a small number of days to a large number of years.


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