Common PennKey Registration and Usage Problems

Several common PennKey registration and usage problems are addressed on this page. Additional PennKey-related questions are addressed in the FAQ.

Getting an Error 402 when entering information on the registration logon page.

This error indicates that some of your information (Setup Code, date of birth, or last four digits of your Social Security Number (SSN)) was entered incorrectly. Be sure to observe the following when you enter this information:

If you are absolutely certain you are entering correct information, you may be mistyping your information.

Getting an error message that says the password you entered is based on a dictionary word.

This is a common and frustrating problem. "Dictionary" does not simply mean a standard English language dictionary -- it also includes foreign language dictionaries and all kinds of specialized dictionaries that hackers use to crack passwords.

For example, the string "xyzzy" is found in a computer dictionary -- it's a term from an early computer game and has found its way into password cracking dictionaries, so it is not a suitable password

The following approach can be helpful in choosing a password: Make up a sentence that's meaningful to you. Then use the first letter of each word as a letter in your password; if you wish, add additional characters to make it more difficult to guess.

Not being able to access a service using your PennKey.

You may be entering your PennKey and password incorrectly or there may be a problem with the service you are trying to access. To determine a course of action, do the following:

1. Be sure you are using the correct case when entering your PennKey and password.

2. Try accessing the PennKey test page at to rule out problems with your PennKey.

3. If you can access the test page after entering your PennKey and password, the problem you are having with authentication to another service is related to that service, and you should contact the provider of the service directly. Contact information usually appears on the web page to which you are trying to authenticate.

4. If you can't access the test page after entering your PennKey and password, you will need to obtain a PennKey Setup Code and return to the PennKey registration application to reset your PennKey and password.