Secure your NetLink ID

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NetLink security


Choose a secure passphrase

When you create a NetLink ID or change your NetLink ID passphrase, you will be forced to choose a secure passphrase. There are many rules for creating a secure passphrase; for a full list of rules, visit

Never share your passphrase

Your NetLink ID is your personal identification at UVic. It is used to authenticate to secure university resources, such as campus computers, email, My page, and the VPN client. It is extremely important that you do not share your NetLink ID passphrase with anyone—not friends, family, peers, or UVic personnel (not even the Computer Help Desk). Sharing your passphrase puts your NetLink ID and its associated services at risk of being compromised.

Beware of email scams

Phishing is a common online scam designed to trick you into revealing sensitive personal information (e.g. passphrases, credit card numbers, your SIN) that is then used for fraud or identity theft. Phishing typically takes the form of an email message that appears to come from a trusted organization (e.g. your bank, the university), but is actually from the identity thieves. It is intentionally difficult to tell the difference between a legitimate message and a phishing message.

Do not send sensitive information—such as passphrases, credit card numbers, birth dates, Social Insurance Numbers, etc.—through email. For more information about phishing scams and how to protect yourself from fraudulent emails, visit our phishing awareness training page.

Beware of fraudulent websites

Beware of links in emails, especially when the page you land on asks for sensitive information (i.e. your NetLink and passphrase). Even if the website looks like a UVic page, always double check the URL (website address). Is it the page that you expected to be directed to? Does it contain the domain? Never enter your personal information into a page that has a suspicious website address. If in doubt, contact the Computer Help Desk.

Remembering your passphrase

If you use multiple different passphrases to access different electronic resources, you may find it difficult to manage all of this information. University Systems recommends the use of KeePass to securely store these passphrases. KeePass allows you to enter your username/passphrase combination required to access different resources and stores these in an encrypted, passphrase protected file. You can access the passphrases when needed using the KeePass application from your computer or mobile device.

KeePass is available for a variety of devices including Windows PCs, Macs, iPhones, and iPads. KeePass also provides a tutorial on configuring and using the program. Please ensure that you keep your master passphrase safely memorized. If you lose this passphrase, your KeePass database will be inaccessible. If you share this passphrase with another person, he/she will have access to your passphrases.

This eliminates the need to record or write passphrases on paper or other physical object that can be lost or stolen.

To further prevent access to this secure passphrase storage, ensure that only authorized users can access your computer or mobile device by protecting it with a username and passphrase or a passcode. Ensure that your laptop is set to lock after 15 minutes of inactivity and prompt for a username and passphrase to unlock. This will reduce the risk of an unauthorized user from easily accessing your laptop and having an opportunity to access KeePass.

Forgotten NetLink passphrase

If you have forgotten your NetLink passphrase, you will need to contact the Computer Help Desk to reset your passphrase. For security reasons, the staff there will need to see a valid piece of photo ID before performing a passphrase reset. Alternatively, students can reset their passphrases using our online tool.

Regularly change your NetLink passphrase

To reduce the risk that your NetLink passphrase can be used maliciously in the event that it is lost or stolen, you should regularly change your NetLink passphrase. By making this part of your routine, you reduce the risk of someone using a three-year-old passphrase that may have been stored insecurely to access your NetLink account.

University Systems recommends that you you set a new NetLink passphrase that is significantly different from your old passphrase every 4 months. You can set a new NetLink passphrase at