Nov. 1 marks the deadline for students, faculty and staff to change their Kerberos passwords. After that they will be forced to switch from their current eight-character password to a passphrase with a minimum 12 characters.
According to the UC Davis Information Educational Technology (IET) website, the change is in accordance with new federal minimum passphrase strength requirements. This change was made to prevent hackers from accessing students’ online files.
While a four-character increase doesn’t seem like much, it is still an inconvenience.
The previous password system was complicated enough. It required the eight-character password to include one capital letter, two numbers and one non-alphabetical/numerical symbol.
With this complexity, it was already difficult for hackers to access student accounts. Now IET recommends “I Love My Dog,” “Aggie for Life!” and “FALL Quarter 2010” as possible passphrases.
While these models have their intricacies such as closing punctuation and capitalized letters, they are nowhere near the difficulty of the prior password system.
It would be easier for a hacker to guess “FALL Quarter 2010” if it is, in fact, currently fall quarter 2010.
While the change comes with good intent, it is nonetheless one more inconvenience students have to deal with in their daily lives.