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Tuesday, April 26, 2011 - Almanac Vol. 57, No. 31
Perfecting PennKey Passwords
On March 29, the minimum length for new PennKey passwords was increased from six characters to eight characters, to make it more difficult for hackers using password-cracking tools to guess passwords. If you currently have a six- or seven-character password, we strongly recommend that you set a longer password now. The direct link for changing a known PennKey password is https://weblogin.pennkey.upenn.edu/changepassword
To construct a long (and therefore stronger) password that you can remember, try this:
- Think of a phrase that has special meaning only to you, or conversely that no one would suspect would have any meaning to you: Chester Arthur was the twenty-first President of the United States!
- Take the first letter of each word (maintaining case) to ďassembleĒ your password: CAwttfPotUS. This is a pretty strong password, and not hard to remember if you keep the source phrase in mind.
- You can make it even stronger by including the punctuation and "tweaking" it a little: CAwt21stPOTUS!. Of course, since that password is published here, donít use it as your password!
Now, to protect your password:
It may be difficult to remember a password if you use your PennKey infrequently, and resetting a forgotten password is more problematic if you are rarely on campus or travel frequently. In these cases, you may wish to enroll in Challenge-Response. This option allows you to reset your password quickly online without first obtaining a PennKey Setup Code. However, if you regularly access sensitive University data, you should NOT enroll in Challenge-Response.
- DON'T share it with anyone - this violates Pennís Policy on Acceptable Use of Electronic Resources.
- DON'T write it down and post it somewhere (like on your monitor or under your keyboard).
- DON'T send it in email. No one at Penn should ever ask you for your PennKey password.
- DON'T type it into a web site that you visit after clicking on an unsolicited link.