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One Step Ahead
October 6, 2009, Volume 56, No. 06

One Step Ahead

Another tip in a series provided by the Offices of Information Systems & Computing and Audit, Compliance & Privacy.

PennKey Opens Many Doors: Keep it Safe

You have often heard the strong caution, “don’t share your PennKey,” but you may not know why. Here are some important reasons.

First, your PennKey and your PennKey password protect your information. PennKey is the authentication system for logging on to many websites at Penn, including U@Penn, and viewing your personal data. Anyone with your PennKey and password can look up your pay, tax-related information, and other data that you probably want to keep private.

Second, the PennKey system protects institutional data. Your PennKey is assigned to you and used to provide access to sometimes numerous systems, based on your legitimate need to know. If you need to give an assistant access to a particular system, for example, to your e-mail, contact your Local Support Provider to open a proxy account for your assistant for that e-mail account only. That way, you will achieve what you need without opening up other systems and data stores to someone who is not authorized to access them.

Finally, if you are asked to use someone else’s PennKey—for example, to complete online training on their behalf—just say “No!” Call 215-P-COMPLY if you have questions or concerns about appropriate use of PennKeys.


To receive OneStepAhead  tips via email, send email to listserv@lists.upenn.edu with the following text in the body of the message:  sub one-step-ahead <your name>.

For additional tips, see the One Step Ahead link on the Information Security website: www.upenn.edu/computing/security/.

Almanac - October 6, 2009, Volume 56, No. 06