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CUIT Adds Further UNI Account Security Features

29 Jun 11

As part of our plan to continuously improve security, CUIT is pleased to announce new enhancements to the UNI password reset service. These enhancements, which start June 29, 2011, will further protect the security of your UNI account and personal information by reducing reliance on Social Security Numbers.

As you may recall, on December 15, 2010, CUIT introduced the ability to reset a forgotten UNI password via self-service, rather than needing to call the Help Desk. The June changes will continue to better align Columbia with industry best practices for online account management. Consistent with industry standards, we are increasing the minimum password-length requirement from six characters to eight characters, and introducing security questions (challenge questions and responses) for account verification.

What is changing?

Starting June 29, 2011, you will be required to select security questions when activating a new UNI account, changing a UNI password or recovering a forgotten UNI password. We also are changing the minimum acceptable password length to eight characters.

How does selecting security questions help me?

If you enter correct responses to the security questions, you will not be asked to enter the last four digits of your SSN or your date of birth while recovering your password. You can proactively set security questions by visiting and clicking on the link to “Update Security Questions.”

What should I do?

When you are asked to select security questions, please select questions and provide responses that you can remember. You will be challenged with these security questions when recovering a forgotten UNI password.

What do I do if I need help?

The CUIT Helpdesk (212-854-1919) and the Support Center (202 Philosophy Hall; hours of operation) are available to answer questions or provide any assistance you may need.

Other Important Password-Related Guidelines

Increase the effectiveness of your password by following these practical guidelines:

  • Protect your passwords and treat them as valuables.
  • Your account is your responsibility. Do not share your password with others, including technicians. CUIT staff will never ask for your password.
  • Do not base your password on personal information that someone who knows you may be able to guess.
  • Do not use your user ID (UNI) or your name/department name as your password.
  • Do not use your UNI and password for access to third-party systems, for example online shopping, newspapers, or travel websites.
  • Avoid letting software save or store your passwords. Besides increasing the chance that someone will be able to access data on your computer or personal information associated with your account, storing passwords makes it more likely you will forget any you do not type in regularly. 
  • Make sure you always log out of programs or websites and close browsers when you are done working with them, especially on public computers.