Office of Information Technology

Managing Your Passwords


Many of your passwords are synchronized, so they are the same across most AU IT systems. See the list below for exceptions.

 

SYNCHRONIZED PASSWORDS
(Same across Systems)
PASSWORDS NOT SYNCHRONIZED
(Require Separate, Unique Passwords)
  • AU E-mail via the Web or IMAP Clients for Faculty or Staff 
  • Blackboard 
  • SafeConnect
  • Datatel Colleague
  • EagleData 
  • EagleNet (Novell Netware) 
  • MyAU.american.edu Web Portal 
  • VPN
  • AU-Sponsored Gmail E-mail Accounts for Students (Optional Synchronization)
  • Lotus Notes Client
  • Windows XP Workstation

 

Password Requirements

You will be prompted to change your password every 90 days or every 365 days, depending on which password policy you choose. Each policy has different requirements:

8 character passwords must:

  • Begin with an alphabetic character
  • Contain either numbers or symbols
  • Not have been used for your last 8 passwords (at least two digits should change)

16 character passwords must:

  • Begin with an alphabetic character
  • Contain at least one lowercase letter and one uppercase letter
  • Not have been used for your last 2 passwords (at least two digits should change)

Creating Strong Passwords

Nowadays, we all have to juggle five, ten, maybe more passwords. Follow our recommendations for creating a strong, memorable password in three simple steps:

  • Think of a sentence you can remember.
    Use this as the basis of your strong password. For example, if you think, "my daughter Sara is four years old today." Use the first letter of each word to create a nonsensical word. Using the example above, you would get "mdsifyot".
  • Add complexity by mixing uppercase and lowercase letters and numbers.
    It is valuable to swap out letters for numbers and symbols. For instance, in the password above, consider substituting the symbol $ for the letter "s" and the number 4 for the word "four", and the number 0 (zero) for the letter "o". This might yield a password like "Md$i4y0t".
  • Change your password often.
    Instead of starting from scratch, change your current password by altering a number and a letter in your password. For example, after 90 days, you might change the password above by changing the 0 to a number 1, and the "t" to a "u", resulting in the new password: "Md$i4y1u".

Test your new password with Microsoft's Password Checker, which is a non-recording feature on Microsoft's website that helps determine your password's strength as you type.

 

Changing Your Password

You may change your password at any time by following the steps below:

  1. Log on to the myAU.american.edu Web portal.
  2. Click the TECHNOLOGY option.
  3. Select CHANGE/RESET MY PASSWORD.
  4. Enter your new PASSWORD.

Please allow at least 15 minutes for all of the systems to update your password.

IMPORTANT: AU policy holds you responsible for any activity under your user name. To protect the privacy of your data, never give out your password, change it periodically, and always remember to log off when you are finished working.

 

What To Do If You Have Forgotten Your Password

If you entered a secret question when you established your user name, you can go to myAU.american.edu and click the RESET AN EXPIRED OR FORGOTTEN PASSWORD link beneath the login section of the page. Follow the instructions to reset your password.

If you have not yet entered a secret question or your answer is not accepted, contact the IT Help Desk by phone at 202-885-2550, e-mail at helpdesk@american.edu, or instant message AskAmericanUHelp to request that your password be reset, after your identification has been verified. You will be asked one or more questions to confirm your identity.

Once you log back in successfully, be sure to add a secret question so you will be able to use the self-service password reset option in the future. Go to the TECHNOLOGY section of myAU.american.edu and click the CREATE SECRET QUESTION & ANSWER link. Be sure to read the instructions carefully.