New Campus-Wide Password Policy Being Implemented

By on January 22, 2014

In an attempt to maximize Internet security for all users and systems that use BlazerIDs, UAB has implemented a new campus-wide password policy.

Approved by Vice President of Information Technology E. Douglas Rigney Ph.D. on December 13th and effective January 1st, the new standard includes minimum and maximum character limits on passwords, an expiration interval during which new passwords must be created, and a lockout period if an incorrect password is repeatedly entered.

As per the new policy, BlazerID passwords must be between 8 and 32 characters in length.  They are set to expire after a period of 180 days for student users and 90 days for employees, administrators, guests, and for temporary and resource passwords. In addition, accounts will be disabled for a minimum of 30 minutes after six failed log-in attempts. A log of both successful and failed log-in attempts will be kept by the system for at least 90 days.

These new standards are being implemented through the UAB IT Enterprise Identity Management organization.

Students can take a number of measures to further increase cyber security and prevent theft.  As an important first line of security, password-protected user accounts are a must for laptop and desktop users. Passwords should remain known to the owner of the laptop or desktop only, and should be kept secret from friends and peers. Using a universal password can compromise the security of a number of online accounts. Therefore, it is recommended that students use a password manager to generate a strong, unique password for each site that is visited.

To avoid permanent damage from malicious websites, or even phony phishing emails that appear to be from a bank or the university, it is also recommended that students take advantage of free antivirus tools. The online computer magazine PCMag suggests that AVG Anti-Virus FREE 2013 and Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+ 10.5 are just as effective as commercial products in protecting against malware (malicious software).

Another important aspect of cyber security is using proper judgment before posting personal information on social media sites and only allowing friends and family access to those posts.

Now that personal data such as contact information, pictures, and bank account information is no longer limited to desktops and laptop computers, students should be careful to secure their smartphones as well. To ensure protection, they should enable a locking feature on their smartphones, whether it is a PIN number, facial recognition, or the like, as well as downloading anti-theft software.

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