New Passport York enhancements designed to deter data breaches


The news is full of significant data breaches and the threat to online security is growing. Most recently, the Marriott Hotel chain’s breach exposed the data of 500 million of its hotel guests, including credit card numbers and sensitive personal information. Breaches of this magnitude serve as a reminder of the importance of being vigilant with passwords and online accounts.

Data breaches and system compromises impact not only the targeted organizations but also other institutions where people have access to computing resources and sensitive data. Weak passwords or reusing the same password for a number of different sites means that once a breach takes place, hackers can gain access to other sites.

To ensure the safety of York University’s data assets, University Information Technology’s Security team has added a new enhancement to Passport York. The new enhancement reminds Passport York users of previously used passwords and prompt them for a new, unique password during the periodic password reset process. This new security feature will prevent cybercriminals from leveraging passwords obtained from external compromised systems and using these passwords to steal University data.

Remembering different passwords can be difficult. However, with the current limit of 128 characters in a password, memorizing a strong password is now easier. UIT Information Security recommends using a short sentence, quote or excerpt from a short story or poem.

For personal email, use a similar approach, be vigilant and change your passwords regularly. Consider using two-factor authentication and watch what is posted on social media. Understand and audit who or what organization has access to your data and do not reuse your passwords.