By: Rene Howard-Paez, Staff Reporter
Dominican is currently in the process of implementing new password policies for its campus network. Students, staff and faculty members were encouraged to change their passwords – and create much more complex ones – more often. IT recently sent out a campus-wide e-mail outlining these new procedures.
The e-mail gave many details regarding the new policy. Questions were answered about how to change the network password and what would happen if a student did not change his or her password. It provided a summary of the new password requirements and contact information for answers to further questions.
The new password rules require students to change their previous passwords to something much more complex. A new password has to be a minimum of eight characters, cannot contain the user’s entire account name or full name, and must have a specific number of either uppercase or lowercase characters and digits.
This policy change appears to have no connection to Dominican’s previous incidents involving a weak network security.
Dominican is not alone with its concern about network security. Universities across the country have enforced similar, or even stricter, password requirements for their networks.
Don Ralis, associate director of IT infrastructure, said that using passwords for an extended period of time has made users vulnerable to hackers.
“Hackers can use your username, which is not hard to figure out, and then use a dictionary attack to get into your account,” Ralis said. A dictionary attack consists of trying “every word in the dictionary” as a possible password.
Some students say the new requirements are worth the hassle.
Sophomore James Johnson was previously worried about the security of his Dominican computer account, but now his mind is at ease because of the new password protection system.
“I would rather have to change my password every week than have someone be able to access all of my information,” Johnson said.
These changes were made to improve the overall security of the students and to better protect the cyber community. Before the changes, hackers had easier access to students’ and faculty members’ personal information, including transcripts and financial information.
Nearly 1,400 people have changed their passwords already, and IT workers expect more to join them.
IT staff was present in the Lewis Alcove on Tuesday, Feb. 8, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to provide assistance with the new DU Password Manager site. They are still available to explain the new password policy to any student who has questions.
If anyone has further questions they can contact the IT Help Desk at (708) 524-6888.