| 03.18.2018

Pin access phase-out


Feb. 19 will mark the end of pin access for University of Idaho students. The pin has been in effect since VandalWeb was launched more than 10 years ago, which Chuck Lanham, information technology services assistant director, said was originally deployed because it was the login method chosen by Banner Systems.
“The problem with the pin is, first of all, it’s only six characters in length,” Lanham said. “That’s the way it was set up 10 years ago by the registrar’s office.”
He said the short pin length is one reason it is being phased out.
“It’s insecure and easily guessed,” Lanham said.
The pin also automatically resets to the student’s birthday adding “00” as the last two digits.
“For example, if someone’s birthday was February 7, it would reset to 020700,” he said. “If people do not go in and change it, it’s pretty easy to figure out their password.”
Lanham said the second reason the pin is being phased out is to work toward the UI goal of having only one password for university systems — the NetID.
“You have a minimum of three passwords when you first become a student at UI and that’s confusing,” he said.
UI senior Shelby Owens said she prefers the pin.
“The pin is faster because I use those really long passwords that last forever, so the pin is more convenient,” she said.
Matt Montecucco, UI junior, said he shared Owens’ opinion.
“No offense to the school or anything, I am not a very big fan of how often they change, update and make us renew our passwords. I think this is pointless,” Montecucco said. “The reason that we have a password is so that we and or our parents can log on and help with financial aid and make sure everything is on track. With all of these updates and changes it is hard to remember what password (is used where). I like to have one password for log-ins and keeping that password.”
This is why Lanham said the change is being implemented, to limit confusion and the number of passwords students need to remember.
UI Registrar Nancy Krogh said these concerns were addressed by the UI group that gathered to discuss this change.
“I volunteered to pull a group together started last year,” Krogh said. “The group then got together several times to discuss the issues and how it would play out.”
Lanham said the group consisted of the registrar, the financial aid office, undergraduate and graduate admissions, the law school, human resources and anyone who wanted to join the committee.
“It’s a big impact on everybody, so we are trying to be as inclusive as possible with everybody,” he said.
The phase out started Jan. 25 with the first notification to users about the pin removal. As of Jan. 28, VandalWeb users who use their pin to login will receive an email reminding them of the impending end date, with the full switch over to the NetID Feb. 19.
Lanham said since the first notification, ITS has not received any negative feedback about the switchover.
Questions or concerns can be sent to pincommunication@uidaho.edu.
Katy Sword can be reached at arg-news@uidaho.edu

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