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Digitalk: Where IT's at

Change passwords online

IS&T recommends that members of the community practice good personal IT security by changing passwords regularly. IS&T recently released a web-based service to change Kerberos passwords, available from Kerberos passwords are used to access email accounts, create MIT web certificates, log into Athena or WinAthena, and access such web services as TechTime.

Changing passwords regularly limits the amount of time an intruder has to guess your current password, while also limiting how long a compromised password could be used. It is also important to select a good password: one that is easy for you to remember, but that people who know you could not easily guess. Strategies include creating a long password (at least eight characters), mixing numbers and punctuation into uppercase and lowercase letters, and misspelling common words or phrases.

IS&T User Accounts provides support to MIT users who need to change passwords. Reach them at

Back it up with TSM

TSM is MIT's enterprise data backup and restoration software. Backing up the contents of your computer to a secure network server lets you restore data in case of error or computer failure.

TSM 5.2.3 for Windows and Macintosh includes minor bug fixes and, for the Macintosh, encryption and improved scheduled backups--two features already available to Windows users. With the TSM scheduler installed, scheduled backups will run whether or not the user is logged in. (Your computer does need to be turned on, though!) Encryption keeps your data secure during transmission over the network. If you opt to use encryption, it is critical that you keep a copy of the key (equivalent to a password) in a safe location, such as on removable media or another computer. Without the key, you won't be able to restore your data.

To learn more about this fee-based backup service, search with the keyword "backup" from the MIT home page.

MIT hosts SAP conference

MIT and SAP hosted the annual SAP Higher Education and Research User Group (HERUG) Conference at the Stata Center in March. The mission of the HERUG is to foster the development and more effective delivery of SAP functionality to the higher education and research community. Membership in the SAP HERUG is open to all degree-granting higher education and research institutions that are SAP customers with signed contracts for one or more R/2 or R/3 software modules.

A full program of SAP topics was offered, as well as events to encourage attendees to network with colleagues from around the world. Eighteen sessions were held with 113 participants from 13 countries. For more information on the HERUG Conference, go to

Tech directions for higher ed

The 2005 Horizon Report highlights six technology areas that may become very important to higher education over the next one to five years. These range from intelligent searching to augmented reality. IS&T's Phil Long, who contributed to the report, is the chair of the 2006 Horizon Project Board--a collaboration between the New Media Centers, the National Learning Infrastructure Initiative and Educause. For a PDF version of the report, go to

Digitalk is compiled by Information Services and Technology.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on April 13, 2005 (download PDF).

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