Password refresh campaign to launch this fall

The University of Chicago is launching a CNet password refresh campaign this fall as part of IT Services’ efforts to protect the University’s network, computing and data.

The campaign will help to strengthen the security of the network by requiring individuals who have not changed their CNet password in the past 12 months to do so. The first phase of the password refresh campaign will apply to University of Chicago staff members and begins in October. The second and third phases involving UChicago students and faculty members, respectively, will be implemented starting in early 2015.

How will I know if I have to change my password?

If you are required to change your password, you will be contacted via an email from Tom Barton, UChicago’s Chief Information Security Officer, delivered from a mailbox called “,” with instructions on how to change your CNet password, as well as a password change deadline. You may change your password anytime by visiting

You will have two options when updating your CNet password:

  • A complex password of at least 12 characters that utilizes mixed letters, numbers and symbols.
  • The new option of a passphrase that is at least 19 characters long, with a maximum of 32 characters.

What is a passphrase?

A passphrase is a simple sentence or phrase; no special characters are required, though they are encouraged. Spaces are accepted.

Benefits of passphrases:

  • They rely on their length to foil password cracking systems, rather than complexity.
  • Very simple sentences with as few as four words can be extremely effective passphrases.
  • Despite their length, passphrases can be easier to remember, and are generally easier to enter in mobile devices, since they don’t require numbers, special characters, or capital letters.

Why am I being required to change my password?

Keeping your personal information secure is a top priority for the University. Weak passwords can be exploited to breach confidential data and such a breach can impact you as well as others. Changing your passwords regularly and choosing solid, secure passwords or passphrases are the simplest, most effective things you can do to maintain ownership of your identity.

Remember that IT Services will never request your CNet ID or password via email. Click here for more resources on how to protect your information.

What happens if I don’t change my password by my assigned deadline?

A variety of reminders will be sent to help you remember to change your CNet password by the deadline, however, if you miss your assigned deadline, you will lose access to your CNet account. This will prevent you from accessing all applications that require a CNet login, such as xMail, Employee Self Service, UChicago Time and possibly some applications used by your department or unit.

If you find that you cannot access your CNet account, please call the ITS Service Desk at 773-702-5800 (2-5800). After verifying your identity, ITS Support will give you a recertification code that you will use to create a new password at

More information about the password refresh campaign can be found at the IT Services website.