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Passwords grant access to IT resources such as a bank account, computer, email, or a server on a network and are designed to limit access to only those individuals who are authorized. In this way they help protect your privacy and identity. The quality (strength) of your password is an important factor to consider. If passwords are guessed or stolen, someone logging in under your identity could possibly cause problems with your credit, reputation, or with MIT's resources.

Kerberos passwords

The MIT Kerberos password, along with your MIT user name, authenticates you before giving you access to various MIT web services such as the online email and calendar and secure wireless network.

Updating your password

It is a good practice to change your Kerberos password on a regular basis, at least once a year. A good time to change it is around the certificate renewal period in the summer.

If you haven't changed your password in a while, before you do so, refer to this article on strong passwords. It offers guidelines on what to choose and what not to choose when picking a new password.

Keeping your password safe

MIT's network is under constant and heavy attack from automated password crackers running against MIT's authentication systems. It is important to protect your password by:

  • Changing your password at regular intervals
  • Having a strong password
  • Never telling anyone your password or hinting at it, not even to friends, colleagues, system administrators, and account managers
  • Picking passwords you can remember and don't need to write down
  • Locking your screen or logging out when stepping away from a computer, especially in a public area
  • Using a temporary password when using a public computer or a public network to access confidential information
  • Ignoring requests by websites or browsers to "remember" your password

If you have a hard time remembering all of your passwords, there are several password manager tools available, some of them are free. Keep in mind that anyone who could gain unauthorized access to your computer will then have all your passwords at their disposal, so make sure the system storing all your passwords is encrypted with a strong password.