Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science



EECS Passwords Linked to NetID

On May 5, 2014 at noon, all EECS accounts will begin using NetID passwords rather than separate EECS passwords. This has been the department policy for new accounts for over a year, but will now apply to older accounts as well. Please see the frequently asked questions below for more information.

 

Legacy EECS Password information (obsolete after 5/5/2014):

If you forget your password

If you forget your password, you will need to have a member of the EECS IT staff reset your password. You can do this by coming to the EECS IT staff office in Min Kao 423.  Also, given extenuating circumstances, we may be able to send you a new password via encrypted email, fax, or phone.

 

Changing your EECS account password

To change your password, log onto an EECS Linux machine and run eecs-passwd:

prompt> eecs-passwd
Enter current password:
The EECS password rules:
 * Minimum length: 8
 * The password should not be based on a dictionary word
 * It must contain at least 1 character from at least 3 of the following 4 sets:
Uppercase characters: ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Lowercase characters: abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz
             Numbers: 0123456789
  Special characters: '~!@#$%^&*()-_=+[{]}\|;:'",/?

Enter new password:
Re-enter password:
Password changed successfully!

This will change your password on the Linux systems and on certain select websites that are authenticated against your EECS account.

Choosing a strong password not only protects your own data, but also protects others who use the department's systems. If your account is compromised, your data will be compromised, but it could also lead to a larger problem on the system as a whole.

EECS accounts enforce a minimum password strength, to help prevent this from happening.  The minimum requirements are described in the output of the eecs-passwd command, as shown above.

The eecs-passwd command also checks whether your password is based too closely on a dictionary word. For example, password1A technically fulfills the above requirements, but will be rejected:

Please enter new password or passphrase:
The password is unsuitable because it is based on a dictionary word.

Choosing characters at random can make a very strong password; however, such as password is likely to be forgotten. The best way to make a secure, seemingly-random password is to use a mnemonic. This can be done by choosing a saying, song lyric, or poem verse and use the first letter of each word as one part of the password. For example, "Blue canary in the outlet by the light switch" (TMBG - Birdhouse in Your Soul) could be written as:

bcitobtl

Using a little bit of clever replacement, this password can become:

BC|+0bt1

(Note: Now that this password is posted online it should never be used.)

When you are typing your password, just think about the song and you can recall all of the letters or replacements. In short time, you will become accustomed to the password and will have little trouble remembering it.

If passwords are over 40 characters in length (i.e., passphrases), the restrictions are loosened. Thus you can use an English-language sentence such as:

Yikes! I'm writing a passphrase to log in.

Your passphrase will still be required to use at least two of the above character sets. Any 40+ character sentence with numbers or punctuation or mixed case should suffice.

 

How often you should change your password

The University recommends that you change your password every 180 days. (See the University of Tennessee's password page.)

 

General password tips


 

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