ECU Passphrase

New users must create a strong passphrase when they activate their new PirateID. See these tips on passphrase security and creation. Thereafter, the passphrase is changed every 90 days through the Passphrase Maintenance Portal.

Passphrase requirements include:

  • must be at least eight characters
  • must contain at lease three of the following categories: 1) upper case letters, 2) lower case letters, 3) numbers, 4) special characters (!, @, *)

Reset a Passphrase

As a security measure, students, alumni, staff and faculty are required to change their ECU passphrase every 90 days. A passphrase also needs to be reset if it expires or locks after too many failed logon attempts. Users reset the passphrase using one of the three options below.

Option 1. Self Service Maintenance Portal

The self-service Passphrase Maintenance Portal allows users to

  1. Activate a new PirateID, set initial authentication questions, set a mobile number and create a passphrase
  2. Change a passphrase (required every 90 days)
  3. Change authentication questions (if desired, not required)
  4. Unlock a PirateID* (authentication questions answered correctly)
  5. Request an activation code to unlock a PirateID account (authentication questions answered incorrectly)

The site is available 24/7 and users access by answering their security questions.

*If a passphrase is incorrectly entered three times, the PirateID account is locked for security reasons. A user can unlock the PirateID or change the passphrase through the passphrase maintenance portal.

Option 2. Visit a Passphrase Reset Location

Present a completed Passphrase Reset Form along with a valid photo ID (ECU 1 Card, driver’s license or government-issued ID) to the nearest Walk-in IT Help Desk location during business hours:

  • Austin 103
  • Health Sciences Building – Laupus Library 1500

Option 3. Email or Fax the IT Help Desk*

Help Desk staff can reset a student, faculty, staff or alumni passphrase only if the identity of the requester is verified. Therefore, a user must email or fax the Passphrase Reset Form and a copy of a valid ID (ECU 1 Card, driver’s license, or government-issued ID). To protect your personal information, please black out all information except your name and picture.

Fax: 252.737.1715
Questions? Call 252.328.9866 | 800.340.7081

*Please note that requests submitted before noon are completed by 5:00p the same day. Requests submitted after noon are completed by noon the following day.

Passphrase Standard

ECU’s passphrase security standard ensures accounts are protected from unauthorized use.

7.3.1 Passphrases used to provide access to university information resources shall adhere to the following minimum requirements:

  • a) Passphrases shall be at least 8 characters in length.
  • b) Passphrases shall contain characters from 3 of the 4 character classes:
    • Numeral
    • Upper case letter
    • Lower case letter
    • Special character (e.g., !, @, #, *, ?)
  • c) Passphrases shall be changed at a minimum of once every 90 days and shall not use any of the user account’s previous 6 passwords.

7.3.2 New user account passphrases and temporary passphrases shall be controlled to prevent disclosure to unauthorized persons. This shall include:

  • a) authenticating a person’s identity before providing a new or temporary passphrase
  • b) providing new or temporary passphrases that are difficult to guess by others
  • c) delivering new and temporary passphrases securely, and in a separate communication from new account notifications
  • d) requiring temporary passphrases to be changed upon login

7.3.3 Default product and vendor account passphrases shall be secured to prevent unauthorized access. Where technically feasible this shall include:

  • a) changing the default vendor passphrase immediately after account activation
  • b) disabling the account when it is no longer needed or between maintenance sessions


Best Practices – IT Support Staff (PDF)

Passphrase Reset Form (Options 2 and 3) (PDF)

Passphrase Tips