Help for Computer Account passwords

How to change your Math password in a nutshell

Math Dept password policy

All passwords used for the Math Department computer passwords must satisfy the following restrictions:

Longer passwords are easier to pass through the password checking system when you try and change your password. The checker looks for things like dictionary words, names, etc... and will reject passwords based on them. Putting two or more words separated by numbers and/or symbolic characters is usually allowed. Having all your number/symbol characters at the start or end of your password doesn't pass as much.

How to pick a good password

In general a random sequence of upper case, lower case, numeric, and punctuation characters will make a great, but difficult to remember password. A better way is some sort of rules to create your passwords. Following something like two words, capitalize first character in each, separate them with the symbol % and the number 42. Some examples of passwords made with this rule would be :

Don't use any of these for your password, but you could use a similar rule.

How to change your Math password - more detailed

If you know your current Math password

If you know your current Math password you can change it yourself by using the command smbpasswd on ssh.math.vt.edu. You will need to use a command line terminal to do this.

On Macs, the Terminal application is found under Applications->Utilities. Once that is running you would run the command ssh ssh.math.vt.edu -l MATHPID where MATHPID is your Math PID. You will asked for your current Math password.

On PCs, you would use a program such as Secure Shell. Here are some instructions Ben put together. If you do not have this installed on your PC, please see Ben Williams for help.

On Unix systems, generally by default ssh is installed for you. You would use the command ssh ssh.math.vt.edu -l MATHPID where MATHPID is your Math PID.

Once you have a session to ssh.math.vt.edu, you will run the command smbpasswd. You will be asked for your current password, and then twice for your new passwords. Nothing will be displayed when you enter in your old and new passwords. You will either get a password changed or a rejection notice. It will not tell you what is wrong with a password if it rejects it. Please see the above section for help on picking a good password that will pass our password restrictions.

If you don't know your Math password or can't seem to change it yourself

If you do not know your current password, you can ask me to change it for you. Please either visit my office in McBryde 561 or email me. If you do it via email, I'll leave a password change form in your Math mailbox (or send it to the Emporium for Math Emporium people). I will NOT send forms or passwords via email.

What it should look like

Here is what most of you will see as you go through the password change process:

$ ssh ssh.math.vt.edu -l XXXXXXX
XXXXXXX@ssh.math.vt.edu's password:

Authorized use only. All activity may be monitored and reported.

-bash-3.2$ smbpasswd
Old SMB password:
New SMB password:
Retype new SMB password:
Password changed for user XXXXXX
-bash-3.2$