Quick Guide to Passwords

Your HarvardKey password is valuable! It's used to control access to University services and your personal information, so it should be very difficult for anyone to guess your password and pretend to be you. Harvard Information Security has established the following requirements to make sure your password helps you keep your personal data safe and secure. Please also use these password rules for the password for your HarvardKey recovery email address to keep that address safe as well. To learn more about how you can create a strong password that's also easy for you to remember, see the guidance on the Information Security website.

To help keep your information safe, your HarvardKey password must contain:

  • At least 10 characters
  • At least 3 of the following: uppercase, lowercase, numeric, or special characters. Allowed special characters are ~ ! @ # $ % ^ * - _ = + [ { ] } / ; : , . ? [no spaces allowed!]

Additionally, your password may not include:

  • Your email, part of your name, or part of your address
  • Words or common acronyms of 5 or more letters (passwords of more than 20 characters are excluded from this rule)
  • Number sequences of 4 or more numbers
  • Character repeated 4 or more times

Remember, if you ever feel that your password may have been compromised, it's important to change it as soon as possible.

Need to change, reset, or set up your password?

Check the list below for self-service or help sites for common Harvard login types — you can find information on changing, resetting, or setting up passwords there. If you're not sure which login type you use or need, contact the main Help Desk at ithelp@harvard.edu.

Once you've changed your password ...

After you change your password, you'll want to make sure that you update that password anywhere that it might be stored, such as in your email preferences or apps on your phone or tablet — particularly since repeated login attempts with the wrong password may result in your being locked out of your account. For more information on synchronizing your passwords, see Step 3 in this guide (instructions are for HarvardKey password changes, but apply to other login types, too). If you're confused about which login type gets you into which application, check this itemized list of applications' login types, organized by School.