Click for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Forecast



PennKey Authentication: Ready or Not, It's Here

My thanks to each of you who registered in the PennKey system during the past few weeks. The move to PennKey authentication (identity verification) is a significant step forward in guarding our passwords and ensuring both the privacy and accessibility of information and systems at Penn.

I urge those of you who use services that require a PennKey for secure access, but have not yet registered, to do so at your earliest convenience. Some widely used services now requiring a PennKey and password for authentication include Blackboard (faculty and students), GRAM and BEN Reports (researchers and selected staff), PennInTouch (students), and U@Penn and the new benefits information system (faculty and staff). Access to Library services and BEN Financials has not changed, though the Library has added a PennKey authentication alternative to its E-Z Proxy service. See for more information.

Still Need to Register?

Since PennKey registration is a secure on-line process, you need a way to identify (authenticate) yourself when you log in to the registration application. Two login procedures are available to faculty, staff, and students at You'll need to choose the one that applies to you:

  • If you know your PennNet ID and password, select "Log in using a PennNet ID" and complete the three-step registration process. For your convenience, login using a PennNet ID will be available until the end of 2002, even though PennNet IDs can no longer be created or used elsewhere.
  • If you don't know your PennNet ID and password, you will need to log in using a temporary PIN (Personal Identification Number), which you can obtain on campus or have mailed to your address of record. (If you are new at Penn, you will be issued a PIN when you get your new PennCard at the ID Center in the Franklin Building.) Once you have the PIN, select "Log in using a PIN" and complete the three-step registration process. For more on PINs, see the sidebar.

A third login procedure, "Log in Using a PIN (Status Unreserved)," is also listed on the PennKey home page. It's for conference attendees, volunteers, and others who have a more fluid relationship to the University. Everyone who falls into this category will have "Unreserved" indicated on the letter they receive with their PIN.

Forgot Your New PennKey Password?

About 25% of the people who registered PennKeys during the past several weeks had to choose new passwords that comply with Penn's current, more stringent password rules. The combination of unfamiliar new passwords and having to wait until October 14 to use them, means that some people may already have forgotten their passwords.

Password resetting, like registration, is an on-line process, and a temporary PIN is required for identification. Here's how to get a PIN if you have forgotten your password. If you elected to participate in Challenge-Response when you registered your PennKey, just go to the PennKey site, select "Obtain a PIN via the Web to reset password," answer the same three questions you answered when you set yourself up in Challenge-Response, and your PIN will be displayed on-line instantly. Otherwise, go to a PIN location, or call the PIN Request Line to have a PIN mailed to your address of record. (For more on Pins, see box below.)

Need Assistance?

For PennKey tips, please check the web site, particularly the FAQs at Information and assistance are also available from Local Support Providers (LSPs). In addition, several Schools and centers have provided PennKey information for their constituents on the web. You'll find links to local information at

In closing, a reminder concerning security practices: Sharing your password gives others access to all the information you have access to. If you have been sharing your password in order to delegate tasks, be sure to review the alternatives suggested at pennkey/protect/index.html.

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

Getting a PIN to Register Your PennKey or Reset a Forgotten Password

Pins are issued on demand to register a PennKey or to reset a password if you forget yours. A PIN expires in 60 days, or once you've successfully completed the process for which the PIN was issued, whichever comes first.

Walk in for a PIN: Faculty and staff may obtain a temporary PIN from ISC Customer Service at 3401 Walnut St, suite 265C. (Use the "B&C Wing Entrance" in the middle of the block, between Sprint PCS and Modern Eye, not the entrance at the corner of Walnut and 34th). Students may obtain a PIN from the Registrar's office, 221 Franklin Building. See computing/pennkey/help/pinadmin.html for office hours and other details.

Call to have a PIN mailed to you: Call the 24-hour automated PIN Request Line at 215-746-PKEY (215-746-7539, or 6-7539 from a campus phone). The PIN will be sent to your address of record via U.S. Mail. Allow 4-5 days for it to arrive.

Obtain a PIN via the Web (to reset a password only): If you elected to participate in the Challenge-Response option, go to the PennKey web site (, select "Obtain a PIN via the Web to reset password," and answer the same three questions you answered previously. A PIN will be displayed instantly. This option is not available to individuals whose PennKey status is "Unreserved."


And the Winner Is ....

Everyone who registered their PennKey before midnight, October 9, was eligible to win a color Palm Pilot 515 (donated by the Computer Connection) or one of ten $50 Bookstore gift certificates. The drawing was held at the Computer Connection on October 10. The winner of the Palm Pilot is Michael Brown, Wharton '05. Congratulations also to the ten gift certificate winners.

  Almanac, Vol. 49, No. 8, October 15, 2002