Getting Started and Connected

Getting an Account

Access to just about everything TIG has to offer is granted via your CSAIL Kerberos name and password. You obtain a user account, and optionally a CSAIL email account, by filling out the application form.

Once you have applied for an account and your supervisor approves the account, you gain access to several new resources:

Will my CSAIL account go away when I leave?

We understand that many CSAIL alumni continue to collaborate with their colleagues at the Lab after they graduate (or retire, or resign). For students and employees who leave CSAIL on favorable terms, we expect to maintain accounts for some time into the future. Provided that your account does not represent a security issue, and that your use of the account does not harm CSAIL's resources or reputation, we will maintain accounts and email forwarding indefinitely. However, even though we do not delete accounts, you will lose access to your account if you fail to:
  1. Keep your CSAIL email forwarding current,
  2. Respond to mail we send you at your CSAIL email address, or
  3. Keep an active association with your former supervisor (or another CSAIL supervisor) as sponsor of your account.

Note that, as of 2010, CSAIL supervisors must approve the continuation of student accounts at the end of each term. They may choose, at their discretion, to renew each student's account for a term, to renew the account indefinitely as an alum, or to allow it to expire. (Supervisors will receive mail a few weeks before the deadline with a list of users and a pointer to the appropriate WebINQUIR module.) If your account is allowed to expire, you will lose access on the February 1 or July 1 following your last term. (Mail forwarding will continue indefinitely, as will Web service for files in your ~/public_html directory and Web forwarding from and Supervisors have a 45-day grace period to renew accounts; after that time, a system administrator must reactivate the account.

You should not expect to be able to continue to use CSAIL IMAP for your email after you leave. To update your email forwarding address, use WebINQUIR (by preference) or send mail to help@csail. Please be aware that alumni will be given the lowest priority for help requests.

CSAIL account expiration

CSAIL accounts for certain classes of users—students, visitors, affiliates, guests, alumni, and certain temporary employees—automatically expire at the end of every fiscal year (specifically, at midnight UTC on July 1, which is 8 PM on June 30 local time here in Cambridge). we automatically renewed graduate students whose appointment with the same supervisor continues past that date for another year. For people whose appointments CSAIL HQ does not know about, or who are ending on or prior to June 30, the user's supervisor and the research group's delegated account administrator (GM) are given the opportunity to manually renew the user's account. Users who have changed supervisors should have their new supervisor or supervisor's assistant notify to confirm the change. Initial notifications were sent out by email on June 4; users whose accounts are still slated to expire will be informed in late June.

Treat your Kerberos password like your Passport

Your Kerberos principal is your digital identity at CSAIL. You establish your identity using a username and password. However, you should think of your Kerberos principal like a passport. If someone gains access to it, they can very effectively pretend to be you, causing much destruction and pain for you if they desire. A CSAIL Kerberos principal unlocks access to a very large amount of network bandwidth and computation power, enough to cripple a small country if used maliciously. You are responsible for your Kerberos principal, so treat it well.

Some common mistakes people make with their CSAIL accounts include using the same password they use for low- or no-security applications like Gmail accounts, MSN (Hotmail), Yahoo!, or any other web-based free services. Such passwords are often gleaned and used to access login accounts, so you should choose totally different passwords for these two distinct types of applications.
Topic revision: 12 Dec 2017, JasonDorfman

MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory


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