GW community members will be able to manage their NetID passwords through a text message, alternate email or security questions starting Monday.
Chief Information Officer Loretta Early said users will need to update their NetID security options, which will take “less than five minutes,” through GW’s self-service password reset portal to take advantage of the new features. The changes will help prevent potential identity fraud and data theft, she said.
“This change is part of the University’s ongoing efforts to protect your GW accounts and University systems from hacking attempts,” Early said in an email. “It is very important to maintain the security of your NetID. Your NetID is unique and must be guarded as closely as you protect your PIN for your bank account or credit card.”
Early said the changes will provide “additional safeguards” against data leaks and unauthorized access to students’ accounts. Officials notified 5,000 users last month that their usernames, passwords and shipping addresses had been publicly posted in a third-party data breach.
She said users will be able to change their password on their own at any time once they update their security settings.
“The risks are real,” Early said. “It’s crucial that everyone take extra steps to be more cautious and protect IDs and passwords to lessen potential risk and mitigate chances of becoming a victim.”
She added that if users select the security questions option rather than verification through text or alternate email they should treat the answers like a password by protecting the information.
“While security questions do offer a small level of security, users often choose questions whose answers are not secure, can easily be guessed or found out with a simple social media search,” Early said.