On Sept. 9, Broward County Public Schools sent out an announcement both through Canvas and a phone call to parents. The county has requested that students in all grades create a new password in an effort to deter hacks into student accounts.
“This is a district request to enhance the security of student accounts, and not something requested by the schools,” Principal Michelle Kefford said.
The previous passwords were a generic combination created by BCPS using each student’s information. Now, students are being encouraged to engineer a new, more secure password in order to protect their accounts.
“In an abundance of caution given recent cyber-attacks to local school districts, the BCPS Information Technology Division requests that students who have never changed their password from its default, immediately change their password using the instructions posted in Canvas,” BCPS IT Division said in a press release.
As students logged onto Canvas at the beginning of the day, they were greeted with a pop-up announcement requesting them to alter their passcodes. The message also offered links to information on how to do it in five languages; English, Arabic, Spanish, Haitian Creole, Spanish and Portuguese.
“I liked seeing that the district put the instructions up in different languages,” senior Maddy Dwyer said. “It was really easy to figure out how to change the passwords.”
In order to change their passwords, students must navigate to the home page of Clever and then click on their name in the top right corner. A drop-down list will appear, clicking on “Change AD Password” opens the form to create a new password.
Each increment of grade levels was given different criteria to reach when creating their new passwords. Elementary school kids were asked to simply have four characters in their passwords. As the grades got higher, so did the level of complicity suggested. Children from grades six through eight were urged to include eight characters and exclude the use of their name and/or username. A password containing eight letters including an uppercase letter, a lowercase letter, a special character and a number was requested of high schoolers.
“I liked being given the chance to change my password,” freshman Jake Steil said. “I was always really nervous that the basic BCPS one was too easy for people to guess. Now, it’s more personal and original, so it’s harder for people to hack into my account.”
There is no deadline for students to change their passcodes, as this action can be done at any time via the Clever website. However, BCPS is highly recommending that students take the time to change their passwords to something other than the county mandated one.