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Get 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—which includes a Kerberos name (or principal) and password—by filling out the application form. Before filling out the form, please familiarize yourself with the MITnet Rules of Use, which govern all computing systems at MIT.

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

  • A login account, which grants you login privileges on most CSAIL workstations that are running the CSAIL Debian GNU/Linux system, or most workstations that are running Microsoft Windows and are part of the CSAIL Active Directory;
  • The ability to get a CSAIL web browser client certificate, which is used to authenticate you to the many web-based services we offer;
  • File storage space in your CSAIL AFS cell home directory;
  • A personal web site that becomes available as soon as you put content in a certain subdirectory of your home directory (~/public_html).

These service are covered in detail throughout this wiki.

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.
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Topic revision: 03 May 2012, JackCostanza

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