The SNO Report: Password Maintenance 101

If you haven’t seen them yet, you will: prompts from the happy folks here at SNO, telling you it’s time to change your password. You’ll roll your eyes, maybe groan a little, then click away to do something else. We know. It’s annoying and we’ve never asked you to do it before. But, while we totally understand the impulse to avoid the password-hassle, we still want you to take a minute or two to change your password.

Here’s why:

Some of your passwords (we won’t name names) are too weak. It’s tempting to use something you know you won’t forget (all you Password1 folks, we’re talking to you!), but easy passwords make for easy hacking, and nobody wants that. And actually, since we’ve started this whole password maintenance thing, we haven’t had even one hack. You’re welcome.

Need another reason? Your paper is a dynamic organization; news staff change over all the time. And unless old staff accounts are manually disabled, past staff still have access to your site. Now, we won’t accuse your old staff of harboring nefarious motivations, but it’s always better to have strict control over who can log in to your site, and who can’t.

So here’s what’s going to happen: when you’re sixty days out, you’ll get a prompt to change your password. All you have to do click on your profile, select “generate password,” and type in your new password. Boom. Then you don’t have to think about it again for 365 days. It’s so easy! To avoid password-algorithm related frustration, pick a password that has at least eight characters, and uses an uppercase letter, a lowercase one, a number, and a punctuation mark. It’s a demanding algorithm, but it’s worth it, because it keeps your site safe.

Pro-tip: if you’re worried about forgetting your new password, check out LastPass or 1Password, and never worry again.

We know you’re busy, so if you do decide to skip the password reset, we’ll keep reminding you. And your reminders will get bigger. Like, the words will get bigger. And bigger. And BIGGER. If you really wait until the last minute, they’ll take up the whole page, so you don’t have to worry about missing the reminder.

If you do run into difficulties, though, or if you get locked out, we’re happy to help. Just fill out a support ticket and we’ll get right on it. Another pro-tip? If you do need our help with your password, please be polite; our support staff will thank you.