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Feb. 17, 2011 Volume 32, No. 20

UM System will require computer password change


Policy will improve network security

Attention all University of Missouri employees: It’s time to build a better password.

UM System faculty and staff have until April 15 to change the password to their university accounts, says Terry Robb, spokesperson for the Division of Information Technology. Users who have not changed their passwords by the deadline will have them reset automatically. They will then need to re-establish their password by either using a password recovery tool, contacting their IT representative or visiting DoIT’s TigerTech service desk.

Passwords will now be reset on an annual basis, Robb says. While some organizations require employees to change their computer passwords more frequently, MU’s policy seeks to balance network security needs and user convenience.

“It is good security practice to do it by some interval, especially if users write their passwords down or share them with others,” he says. “Given all of the additional security measures that are in place, we believe that annual resets are appropriate. We don’t want to overwhelm people.”

Robb says the change does not mean accounts have been compromised. “We are just trying to be a step ahead of the bad guys who might be able to capture someone’s password.”

Passwords must be at least eight characters long and include at least one lowercase letter, one uppercase letter, one digit and one special character, such as a dollar sign or an asterisk.

To ensure password safety, Robb offers these tips:

  • change password frequently
  • do not write passwords down or share them;
  • create unique passwords for each account;
  • do not use your work password for your personal banking transactions or any type of personal business;
  • do not use your web browser’s “save password” feature;
  • consider using a pass phrase, such as “Ilik3hOrses#”.

As of Feb. 14, 2,644 or 20 percent of UM users had reset their passwords to comply with the new policy. Students are exempt, as are University Health Care employees because many of them already reset their passwords twice a year.

To change your password, go to and read the article titled “Faculty/Staff Password Change,” or click on the password tools link on the upper left side of the page. With questions, call the Help Desk at 882-5000.