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Passphrase and Cybersecurity


A phishing attack is a form of social engineering by which cyber criminals attempt to trick individuals by creating and sending fake emails that appear to be from an authentic source, such as a business or colleague. The email might ask you to confirm personal account information such as a password or prompt you to open a malicious attachment that infects your computer with a virus or malware.

Characteristics of a phishing email:

  1. The email asks you to confirm personal information
  2. The website link redirects you to a suspicious looking website
  3. Email address doesn't look genuine
  4. Message is designed to make you panic
  5. Contains a suspicious attachment

Actions to take:

  1. Most of the time these emails should simply be deleted.
  2. Do not click on links provided within the email or open any attachments.
  3. If you think it might be a legitimate email, call or email the business entity via your own internet search or other sources. Do not use the information provided within the email.


A passphrase is a password that is comprised of a combination of words that are easy to remember. By using a longer password such as a passphrase and adding complex characters like symbols, they are more secure and better protect private information. For example: “The R0@d To Succ3ss 1s Alway$ Under C0nstructiOn!”

Passphrase Protection Guidelines:

  • Do use a passphrase that is 12+ characters in length.
  • Do change your passphrase immediately if you think it may have been compromised (Reset Password).
  • Do be careful about letting someone see you type your password.
  • Do use at least one complex character (number or symbol) AND at least one capital letter
  • Do not make your district account passphrase the same as the one you use for your personal accounts (e.g., personal email, on-line banking, social media.).
  • Do not share your passphrase with anyone either in person, over the phone or through email.
  • Do not store your passphrase in plain text on your computer.
  • Do not post passphrases on computers, whiteboards, etc. . . .
  • Do not give your passphrase to co-workers when on vacation.
  • If you must write down a passphrase, kept it in a locked drawer at all times.