Security Questions

The Office for Information Technology has released a new password changer with a different look and a “forgot my password” feature. The first time you use the system, you will be asked to provide answers for the six “Challenge Response” questions. The idea is that only you will know the answers to these questions. Capitalization does not matter, but spaces do. So if an answer is: ‘New Orleans’, then ‘new orleans’ or ‘New orleans’ will work, but ‘neworleans’ will not.

Your responses can be used later to reset the password in case you forget it, or if your password expires before you have a chance to change it. This should reduce the need for support desk intervention if your password expires. Instead, you can click the “Forgot Password?” link. You will enter your username and then be presented with two of the six Challenge Questions (selected at random). If you are able to answer both correctly, you will then be able to choose a new password.

This is just a new feature – the function of the password changer is the same. If you have not forgotten your password, then you simply log in and choose a new one, just as before. You can change your Challenge Questions responses at any time after logging in by selecting the “Password Challenge Response” link. Uncheck the “Use Stored Response” box and you can then enter new values.

As to how the six questions were chosen – that was a long and difficult process. No six questions could satisfy the entire campus fully, so they were chosen to work with the largest possible community base. Remember that the first time you set up your questions you do not have to answer them correctly you just have to remember what you answered. For example, one of the questions is “who is your favorite teacher”. You may not have a favorite teacher, but you could put in Mark Hopkins or Socrates or Britney Spears as long as you can remember that was your answer.

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