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Don't Get Locked Out of Key Online Services:
Register Your PennKey

During the past few months, communications in Almanac and other campus vehicles have been preparing faculty, staff, and students for the switch to PennKey authentication (identity verification). To ensure access to a growing number of online services now and in the future, you will need to register a PennKey and password in the new PennKey system.

Why Act Now?

The PennNet ID system is being deactivated, and all services now requiring a PennNet ID for secure login, such as BEN Reports, GRAM, Blackboard, the new Benefits System, and U@Penn, will switch to PennKey authentication on Monday, October 14. PennInTouch and the new PennPortal for students (coming later in October) will also require a PennKey.

If you register your PennKey before October 14, you'll avoid getting locked out of these and other services as they change over. Even better, if you register your PennKey before midnight on October 9, you'll be eligible to win a Palm Pilot 515 or one of ten Penn Bookstore gift certificates.

Additionally, all PennNet ID swipe stations will be deactivated on October 14. At that point you'll no longer be able to establish a PennNet ID or reset a forgotten PennNet password to help you log in to the online PennKey registration system. As of October 14, anyone without a PennNet ID and password will need to obtain a PIN (Personal Identification Number) and use it to log in and register their PennKey.

How to Register

The online PennKey registration process is fast and convenient. Go to the PennKey homepage at and select the "Registration" link to begin the simple three-step process:

1. Log in using your PennNet ID and password. If you don't know or don't have a PennNet ID and password, simply go to a PennNet ID swipe station before October 14 and create a PennNet ID or reset your password. You'll find a list of swipe stations at computing/help/doc/passport/netid.html#stations.

2. Register your PennKey and password. Once you've logged in, the system will automatically set your PennKey, which will be the same as your PennNet ID.

Then you must enter a strong password to secure your PennKey. It's a good idea to review the information at email/pswd_guide.html for tips on creating a strong password before you register. Penn has been implementing increasingly stringent password rules over the years, and the PennKey system may not accept an existing password you've been using with your PennNet ID or e-mail account. In addition, you should not use a password you've shared or used on non-Penn systems.

3. Choose how you wish to obtain a PIN for resetting a forgotten password. If you ever forget your PennKey password, you can reset it online, but you'll need a PIN (Personal Identification Number) in order to log in and do so. You can always obtain a PIN by visiting a PennKey PIN administration office or calling the 24-hour PIN Request Line and having one sent to your address of record via U.S. Mail.

During the registration process, you will be asked whether you wish to participate in a convenient "anytime, anywhere" option for obtaining a PIN online. If you elect to participate in this option, known as Challenge-Response, you will be asked to immediately select and answer three personal information questions. In the future, you will be able to obtain a PIN online at any time, from anywhere, by providing the same answers to those three questions.

If you travel frequently or expect to have trouble remembering your password, it's a good idea to participate in the Challenge-Response procedure. Note that you won't be able to change your initial decision about Challenge-Response until November, when the next phase of the PennKey project is completed.

Your Local Support Provider, listed at view/support, can help you in case you have any unexpected difficulties with registration.

To Learn More

For details about the new PennKey authentication system and PennKey registration, I invite you to visit the PennKey website at computing/pennkey.

--Robin Beck, Vice President, Information Systems and Computing

  Almanac, Vol. 49, No. 6, October 1, 2002