Password Maintenance on Panix

Or How To Keep Your Account Secure

Your password is the key to your Panix account. And, just like a key, if you use one that's too simple, easily duplicated, or if you give a copy to anyone, you run the risk of having your "virtual home" broken into.

This is why Panix requires passwords to be secure, and why you may have to go through several tries before finding one that Panix will accept. The program will make sure your password is resistant to the "electronic lockpicks" that computer burglars use to hack into accounts.


Your first password
Creating your new password
Changing your password
If you forget your password
Don't leave the key under the doormat
Your First Password:
The password we give you when you sign up is temporary. The first time you log into the "shell" part of your account, Panix will prompt you for a new password. (It won't be visible when you enter it; this is so nobody sees your password over your shoulder.)

When it accepts one, it will prompt you to re-type it; this is to make sure there are no typos, and that your new password is what you intended. Once this process is completed and you start seeing Panix system messages, your password has been changed successfully. Be sure to remember it!

If you must write it down, please try to memorize it and then tear up the paper. At the very least, keep the paper in a safe place. Treat your password it like a locker or bike-lock combination.

Your Panix password provides access to IMAP, webmail, POP3, and shell access. If you have PPP, the same password is used to authenticate to the dialup server. Note that when you change your password, you'll have to make sure to change it in all relevant applications.


Creating Your New Password:

A password on Panix must be at least 6 characters (letters, numbers, and/or punctuation) long.

You might want to come up with some ideas before logging in; pick 2 or 3 of your favorites, just in case your first choice isn't accepted. Here are a few tips:


Changing Your Password:
After your new password is entered, you can change it at any time. Just log back into the shell, and do the following:
From the web
You can use the secure account management server at config.panix.com.
From a Panix Main Menu:
Select C(onfigure) and O(ther Options).
You'll get a numbered menu from which you select
4)Password.
The program will prompt you for the existing password, and then ask you for a new one. (remember, you won't see them as you type.)
From a UNIX shell prompt:
Type "passwd" and press ENTER. (don't type the quotes, of course.) The program will prompt you for the existing password, and then ask you for a new one.


If You Forget your Password:
If, by chance, you ever forget your Panix password, just give us a call. We can give you a new temporary one, after verifying that you are the owner of the account.
Verification will take place one of two ways.
If you started your account before 1996:
If you have not yet established a challenge and response that we can use to authenticate you over the phone, you will have to do that. In the meantime, Panix may require a special signed authorization to validate that you are, indeed, the owner of the account. Once we've done that, we'll provide you with a new password. Don't forget to use it to set up your phone challenge!
If you started your account in 1996 or later:
When you started, you were asked for a challenge and response that we entered into our system. If you call us and request a change of password, we will ask you the challenge question, and you just need to give us the correct answer to it.
Note: Answering the question correctly is taken as verification, so be sure the answer to your question isn't easily guessed.

Don't Leave the Key Under the Doormat!

Your password is secure information; this means that you're responsible for keeping it safe. Even if you don't have anything there that you need to keep locked up, your account is your online identity, and you're responsible for anything done from it. Here are a few tips on how to keep it secure:

Saving Your Password:
Most modern software allows you to save your password, so you don't have to enter it every time you log in to Panix. While this is a great convenience, keep in mind that it lets anyone into your account, if they have access to that computer.
It's probably okay to save your password if you're the only one with access to your computer. However, in an office setting or where others can get in while you're away, it's a good idea to enter it manually every time you dial in. (That also helps you keep it memorized in case your computer breaks down.)
Sharing Your Password:
It's always a bad idea to give your password to someone else; they have a way of falling into malicious hands that way. Remember what Sam Spade said about three keeping a secret... :)
In fact, if someone calls or sends email, claiming to represent Panix, and asks you for your password: don't give it to them! Get their name, and call the Panix office (+1 (212) 741-4400) as soon as you can.
We don't usually need your password; the only time we'll ask you for it is if you call us, and your password's not working. (We can test it from here, to see if it works on this end.)
Changing the Locks:
Passwords are much easier (and cheaper) to change than locks are, of course...
The saying goes: "Treat your password like your toothbrush; replace it every 6 months, and don't let anyone else use yours." You might also want to change it if anything unusual happens in your account, or you hear about an attack or break-in wherever you have an account. (If you use the same password on more than one service, and one gets invaded, all your accounts are vulnerable.)


Last Modified:Wednesday, 14-Sep-2016 12:12:19 EDT
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