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Password Policy

The University of Richmond is committed to a secure information technology environment in support of its mission. In today's environment the need for a strong password policy is greater than ever. Many systems at the University require the use of passwords including but not limited to e-mail, academic and administrative applications, computing labs, box, and VPN.

Password Rules:

  • Your login ID and password authenticate you as an authorized user of the University of Richmond's computing environment. A strong password is key to the University's overall systems security. You must protect your files and University resources by choosing a good password and protecting it.
  • You are responsible for safeguarding the passwords for your computing accounts. Passwords must not be shared or disclosed to anyone including friends or family. If another person learns your password, that individual has the ability to access your e-mail, your personal files, and your online network identity, and accounts. A knowledgeable person could use your account to attempt to gain unauthorized access to other networked resources, putting them at risk. No one should be given your password—not even someone from Information Services. If you become aware that someone else has learned your password you should change it immediately.
  • Hackers gain access to systems by "cracking" accounts. They typically accomplish this through the use of automated processes to discover account IDs and passwords. Using a dictionary word or your account ID for a password puts your system (and the University's systems) at higher risk of attack by hackers.
  • It is strongly recommended that you change all your passwords regularly, at least once per year.
  • Do not use the password that you choose for your University of Richmond accounts with other off-campus services such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN, Google and Yahoo. This is to protect your Richmond accounts in case those services are breached or in case your service provider does not encrypt passwords during the authentication process. You must change your password immediately if you notice unusual activity on your system or account. If you suspect that someone is accessing computing resources using your identity, please contact the Help Desk at (804) 287-6400 or report it to the Information Services Security Administrator at

How to Choose a Strong Password

Many of the password rules below have been in place at the University for 10+ years.  However, changes to the password length and a few additional password complexity rules went into effect on October 30, 2013.  Those rules are listed below.  Remember, it is our goal for you to have a password that is memorable for you, but unpredictable and therefore less likely to be guessed or “hacked.”    

Password Length

1)      Minimum password length: 16 characters

2)      Maximum password length: 30 characters

Password Complexity

3)      Characters limited to:   a-z, A-Z, 0-9 and [ ] & + * @ ! % ? = ~ #  

4)      Password must contain at least one lowercase letter, one uppercase letter, and one number.

5)      Password must contain at least 5 unique characters and no more than four characters can be in a “sequence”.  For example a password of “A1a1a1a1a1a1a1a1” or passwords containing “aaaaa”, “abcde”, “55555”, “12345”, “54321”, etc. are not allowed.

6)      Disallow usage of the following personal information embedded in your password:

  • Netid
  • Name (first, middle, or last)
  • Birth year (YYYY)

Example: “presidentAlincoln1809” not allowed (if you are Abe Lincoln).

Password Maintenance

7)      Passwords must be changed only once every 360-370 days.

8)      Successive passwords must differ by at least 3 characters.

9)      Passwords that have been used within the last 18 months cannot be re-used.

10)    An uppercase character ('C') is considered different from a lowercase character ('c'), except when comparing successive passwords, in which case they are considered the same (e.g., can’t change password from 'Cat' to 'cAT').

If You Forget Your Password

  • Contact the Help Desk at (804) 287-6400 (you will be asked to provide information to verify your identity) or visit the Help Desk in Jepson Hall G-19 (with your picture ID) to have your password reset.
  • In addition to the traditional method of resetting a forgotten network password by calling or visiting the IS HelpDesk, you are be able to register a 10-digit phone number to which a PIN will be sent (via text) that can be used to reset your password.   Your phone must be capable of receiving a text message.

Revision History

Version Date Revised Author Comments
1.0 July 28, 2005 Chris Faigle
2.0 August 5, 2008 Chris Faigle
3.0 October 15, 2013 Anthony Head