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Password security – the basics
Last modified on 25 June 2017 01:32 AM

Choosing a strong password – resistant to guessing and brute-force hacks – is an important component of email security.  StartMail will also assess your password’s strength for you, and for the sake of your security, passwords deemed "too weak" will not be accepted.  (To learn more about how StartMail determines the strength of your password, see the bottom of this article.) "Weak" Passwords for Question and Answer-based encryption will still be accepted.

Please keep the following guidelines in mind when creating your password:

  • It shouldn’t be too short: More than 10 characters is a good idea
  • Include numbers and other characters like $ and @
  • Mix in at least a capital letter or two
  • Avoid passwords based on repetition, dictionary words, letter or number sequences, usernames, relative or pet names, romantic links (current or past), or biographical information (e.g., ID numbers, ancestors' names or dates)
  • Use a unique password for StartMail; don’t recycle one from one of your other logins
  • Avoid simply appending numbers to the end of a word, e.g., golfbag29
  • Avoid too-simple obfuscation, e.g., p@ssword
  • Avoid too-convenient keystroke combinations, e.g., 12345 or qwerty
  • Avoid incorporating any personal information such as SSN, username(s), nicknames, etc.


How does StartMail determine password strength?

A password automatically receives a weak rating if it is on a blacklist or if it is the same as the username.  

Once a password passes these checks, it is then tested for the presence of different types of characters (letters, numbers, capitals, and punctuation), with the presence of each type increasing the score.

The length of the password is then considered, with longer passwords being awarded a higher score.  One of the most important factors is length: a seemingly "strong" password that is only a few characters long will always be weaker than a password that doesn't contain any special characters but is extremely long.

Based on the resulting score, a rating of "too weak," "strong" or "very strong" is assessed.

Note: If you forgot your StartMail password and can no longer sign in, please click here for more information. 

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