Sharing login information

Recent increases on campus of individual Bellevue College computer and/or network users sharing their account information with others, including their login name and/or password, has motivated this reminder to the campus regarding the seriousness with which such “sharing” is viewed. 

To make certain we are absolutely clear on its definition, in this context “sharing” includes not only giving someone your user name and password, it also includes logging into a computer and allowing another person to use that computer.  It does not matter whether the person might otherwise or eventually be authorized to use that computer, it is still prohibited.  

Login names and passwords

Account names and passwords are used on campus computers for two basic reasons:

  • First, they help secure the technology resources and provide computer and network access only to those who have been legally authorized. 
  • Second, they provide individual accountability for how those resources are used.

Two Bellevue College policies, Policy 5150: “Acceptable Use of  Networks and Systems” and Policy 5000: “Acceptable Use of Bellevue College Computers”, state that college computer and network users are specifically prohibited from allowing ANYONE to use a network account name or password assigned to them. 

In some circumstances, unauthorized access to or use of college computers may constitute a breach of security which triggers policy-based or legal requirements for the college to notify students and others (including the community as a whole) of a potential breach of their FERPA privacy rights or of their confidential and or sensitive protected information.

Potential for embarrassment

Not only is sharing account information against policy, it is simply one of the most risky behaviors a computer user can do.  Anyone with your account name and password can do anything they want on the computer or network/Internet and it will appear to have been done by you.  Imagine the embarrassment created by sharing your account information if the individual you shared it with uses it inappropriately: 

  • If they want to harass someone on line?  No problem, the authorities will come looking for you. 
  • Perhaps they want to download inappropriate materials?  The investigation will point back to you. 
  • Maybe they want to send an embarrassing e-mail to the college President or a Trustee.  Or anyone. No sweat; everyone will come looking for you.

These are just a few of the possibilities.  Certainly, in the majority of cases those individuals who are sharing your account information may do nothing inappropriate.  But all it takes is one irresponsible or malicious person and you become the focus of much unwanted attention.

Personal and confidential

Your login name and password are personalized credentials, just like your driver’s license—they represent you on-line at Bellevue College and to the wider Internet.  They are also a security tool, similar to car or house keys.  While most of us would never think it appropriate to hand someone else our driver’s license and car keys to use simply because they didn’t have their own, we often don’t give a second thought to sharing account information.

The sanctions for an individual sharing their account name and password, or by using someone else’s shared account information, are very serious.  They may include loss of computer privileges, denial of future access to college technology resources, or other disciplinary actions, up to and including dismissal from the college.

Please help Information Resources continue to keep the college networks and computers working as a viable business and educational tool by protecting your login account name and password and ensuring that you are the only one using those credentials. 

Individuals who are authorized college technology users can create their own login and password through the Net-ID website using their Systems ID number (SID), Personal ID number (PIN) and date of birth (DOB).  If you need assistance getting someone authorized to use Bellevue College technology resources, please feel free to contact the Help Desk by e-mail,  through Request Center, by phone (x4357), or to contact me.

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