All Transy students are familiar with the reliable “it’s time to change your password” email from IT. We know this is supposed to keep our information safe online but how? TUSGA wanted to answer your questions so we went straight to Transy alum and Vice President for Information Technology, Jason Whitaker, for the answer.
Whitaker listed several reasons why the student, faculty, and staff have to change their Transy passwords regularly (every seven months to be exact).
“First is that when passwords are stolen or compromised, they are often not used immediately. Bad guys often ‘harvest’ passwords over time, then sell them or use them in batches, or even ‘monitor’ your activity over time.” Thus, if your account information had been stolen long ago without your knowledge, changing your password would prevent these people from getting access to your information.
“Second,” according to Whitaker, “computing power today is such that passwords can be cracked by ‘brute force’ attempts, meaning a program that runs very fast trying every possible combination of letters/numbers/symbols/dictionary words, or even data about you that has been gathered from elsewhere (how many people leave their password as the default with four digits of their SSN in it??).” This means that by changing your password every so often, you are able to avoid these attempts because there will be less time for the brute force attack to guess the password.
Even though it’s tough coming up with (and remembering) new, secure passwords, it’s clearly very important for our online safety. Thank you to Jason Whitaker for answering our questions!