Office of Information Technology Newsletter

New Password Policy Encourages Passphrases

Sample Password

At the end of the Spring 2013 semester, the Office of Information Technology surveyed several hundred students, faculty, and staff to learn more about their experiences with the wireless network. As a result, significant changes have been made to simplify and improve the wireless experience for members of the AU community, which were already announced. Another issue, consistently reported through surveys, was the inconvenience of changing your AU passwords every 90 days. Lastly, we implemented a notification system to send you email reminders prior to your password expiration, so you can be proactive and change it before the system restricts your ability to log on. You spoke; we listened and want to offer you a choice.

New Password Policy Options

You now have the opportunity to choose between two password policies to best meet your needs.

Here are brief descriptions of the two policies:

  1. The 8 character, 90 day policy allows you to keep things as they are now. The password must be a minimum of 8 characters long, begin with a letter, and contain at least one number or symbol. It has to be a password that you have not used for the past 8 password changes. The password will expire in 90 days. For example: an acceptable password might be: M@nycolor5
  2. The new 16 character, 1 year policy allows you to specify a passphrase using natural language that research has shown is easier to remember and type, as well as more difficult for criminals to hack. The password must be a minimum of 16 characters long, and contain at least one lowercase and one uppercase letter. It has to be a password you have not used for the past two password changes. The password will expire in one year. For example: an acceptable password might be: I love AmericanU!

Please Note: All special characters, including spaces, are allowed in your password. You can also change between the two policies at any time. Please do not use either of the two suggested passwords above as your password.

The next time that your password expires and you select the Change/Reset My Password option under the Technology personalized links via the MyAU portal, you will be presented with the two password policy options. Select the option that best meets your needs.

If you would like to take advantage of this change before your current password expires, simply navigate to the Change/Reset My Password option under the Technology personalized links via the MyAU portal, select the 16 character, 1 year policy, and change your password to a meaningful phrase for you.

For more information, please contact the IT Help Desk at 202-885-2550, e-mail helpdesk@american.edu, or instant messenger at AskAmericanUHelp.


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