Changing your password
Changing your password is easy. Telnet into the system and log in with your
current password. Under Windows, open up a command prompt and type
Under Mac OS X, open up a terminal window
and do the same thing. Under Mac OS 9 or earlier, or under Windows version 3
or earlier, you need to install and configure a telnet application yourself.
Changing your password
Once you are logged in, you will see a unix prompt. Depending on how your
account is configured, this will probably be either the pound character
(number sign) or the greater-than symbol. When you see the prompt, type
in the command "
passwd" and press enter.
Note the unusual spelling! The system will then
ask you to enter your old password, and then it will ask you to enter
your new password twice. If you type everything correctly, you will get a
message informing you that your password has been changed. Congratulations!
If you make a mistake, the system will give you an error message and you will
get the command prompt back. Just go ahead and type in the
command again, and proceed as described above.
I'll bet you thought you were done! Well, you are almost there. All you need
to do now is log out of the system. Just type "
at the prompt and you will be logged out. Technically this is not really
required, you can just close your terminal, but logging out is the polite
thing to do.
A word on security
Please try to choose passwords that are more or less secure. If your username
bob, then using "bob" as your password is not very
secure. Things like the name of your pet or your girlfriend are not very
secure either. The most secure passwords are just random strings of letters
and numbers, but those are awfully hard to remember. In practice, a good
compromise is often to choose a word that has meaning to you (your name would
be too obvious, but the street you live on or your favorite Starbucks
drink might be better) and then do funny things to it. For example, I might
pick "icedmocha", and then replace some of the letters with
numbers and capitalize the M, giving a password of "1cedM0cha",
which would be very hard for someone to guess.
You should be careful not to choose a word that appears in the dictionary for
your password. You might think that it would be impossible for someone to
guess that "reiterate" is your password, and you are right. It is
an easy matter however for a cracker to program a computer to try logging
into your account with every word in the dictionary. Then they could log in
as you and delete all of your email. This is clearly not what you want.
This file was last updated November 18, 2002