In order to streamline security of logging into webmail, the Academic Computing center has implemented West Chester University Webmail and Network Account Management.The new system was initiated on Wednesday Oct. 31, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. allowing students and faculty to log in using the same form. Additionally, this system incorporates new features that allow users to self-direct and modify passwords.
ResNet Central Manager Richard Jackson said that users can activate security questions in order to aid them in the event that a password is forgotten.
Paul Gargiulo Jr., technical manager and Blackboard System administrator for the Academic Computing Center, said that one question can be selected from a variety of questions presented, and one is determined by the user. These questions are similar to the ones a person would see when accessing information regarding bank accounts online.
Gargiulo said that security questions can only be determined and made if the user has a working password. If not, the student must go to the Academic Computing center to activate a working password.
When a working password is established, users can maintain password changes on their own. For example, as opposed to going to the Academic Computing Center if a password is forgotten, correctly answering security questions will give the user the password. This can be completed by clicking on the webmail page and then referring to the “Online Password Reset Tool,” which provides the user with the same questions he or she answered when initiating security questions.
Within the first hour of the security questions being available to users, 65 students made their security questions and answers. Gargiulo said that 70 to 80 percent of the incoming calls to the center are due to a forgotten password. The new system, Gargiulo said, will allow the students to make modifications without the assistance of the center.
Gargiulo said that when a person changes his or her password, security questions do not have to be neither changed nor modified.
There are the same stipulations to creating a successful password, such as having eight characters, lower class and upper case letters and it cannot be the same as the previous three passwords. These stipulations are available on the reset page.
In addition, Jackson said that the new system can also allow a student to modify their user name. For instance, if a person gets married or wants to add a middle initial, this is also a possible option for users. This can be completed by referring to the last link on the page entitled “Online update tool.”
Additionally, both Gargiulo and Jackson explained the password age tool which allows the user to always know the pending expiration time of the password. When selecting webmail under the information resources, which has not changed, there is an option toward the middle of the page entitled “How old is my password/passphrase” which requires the user to enter his or her e-mail address and password. If this is done successfully, the system will provide the actual age of the password/passphrase in days and the number of days until expiration.
If a user has to change his or her password, there are two options on the page that will give the student access to do so.
Various alerts and reminders will typically be posted at the top of the page reminding users of certain items of change.
Another feature to the system is a junk mail filter entitled “Postini,” that provides users with a PDF explaining management.
The system also provides users with the accessibility to submit help requests to the Academic Computing Center directly from the webmail page. The link is located on the right-hand side of the page.
In conjunction with the renovated system, as of Friday Nov. 2, is a new switch that will help network traffic and activity which caused some delay on Friday afternoon for an hour.”[It will] make it more efficient, not necessarily faster,” Jackson said.
Ultimately, to further enhance the updated password system, Gargiulo said that as of Friday Nov. 2, 300 users arranged security questions and answers.
Gargiulo said, “The WCU Account Management System will simplify out-of-office support for both the Faculty/Staff and Student Help Desks, and in turn will make accessing online resources a more pleasant and more secure experience for the entire campus community.”
Nicole Fortuna is a second-year student of the Honors College majoring in English with a minor in Linguistics. She can be reached at NF626790@wcupa.edu.