1. Account activation
The email which is sent out following the allocation of an Oxford Single Sign-On account name includes an Activation Code, for example
ABCD-EFGH-IJKL. The Activation Code has a limited lifetime (specified in the email) during which you must activate your new account via the web page at: https://webauth.ox.ac.uk/activate. If you don't activate your account within this time, you will need to contact the IT Services Help Centre.
To complete the activation process, you will need to set up a Security Question and Answer and then use these to set a new password.
2. Setting up a security question and answer
Oxford Single Sign-On accounts have a self-service password reset facility - this lets you choose a new password if you ever forget the old one, or if you let it expire. The reset facility uses a secret security question (e.g. "nickname of my favourite teacher") and answer (e.g. "frankystein") that you set up as part of the account activation process. To set up a security question and answer, use the web page at https://webauth.ox.ac.uk/security_question. Accounts created before June 2005 might not have a security question, in which case one can be set up in this way but you do not need to change the password.
The procedure for setting up a new security question is illustrated below.
Enter your family name, your date of birth in the form of '7 Aug 1980' and the barcode number given on your university card or your student number.
Enter the account name (e.g.
abcd1234) and either the current password or a "Rescue Code" obtained from IT Services or your College/Department IT Support if you have forgotten the password. The latter is a 12-letter code.
The security question should be carefully chosen. The answer should be easy for you to remember but very hard for anyone else to find out or guess. You should avoid using information that could be obtained from publicly available records or web sites such as Friends Reunited. Obscure trivia from your childhood often provides good material. You can also try and make the question a little cryptic, so long as you will understand it in a year or two's time.
Here are some examples of good security questions:
- "My favourite teacher's nickname" (e.g. "frankystein")
- "The registration of my dad's first car" (e.g. "ABC123G")
- "Where my mum and dad met" (e.g. "Skegness pier")
- "First boy/girl I ever kissed" (e.g. "Steven Blenkinsop")
- "Sammy's passion" (e.g. "spaghetti hoops")
Some examples of poor security questions:
- "My mother's maiden name" (easily found in online birth/marriage/death records)
- "My favourite colour" (too few possible answers so easily guessable)
- "My current car registration" (easy to find out)
- "My favourite movie" (may well have changed by the time you need to use this facility)
- "Our Anniversary" (too many different ways to enter the date)
- "My grandmother's dog" (if the answer is very common e.g. "Rover")
The confirmation screen shows that the security question is now set.
3. Setting your password
When you activate your account, or if you ever forget your password, you can set a new one via the web page at: https://webauth.ox.ac.uk/reset_password. After supplying your personal details, you will asked for the answer to your security question. If you answer correctly, you will then be able to set a new password for your account. If you give three wrong answers, the system will lock you out and you will need get a Rescue Code see below.
The process to reset your password is shown in the following pictures.
Login to the system using your university card barcode, your date of birth e.g.7 Aug 1980, and your family name.
Enter the username of the account you need to change.
This screen displays the security question you have set. Enter the answer and click
Next. (Note that spaces and upper/lower-case distinctions are ignored when checking your answer.
Type in the new password for the account. Repeat the password in the second box. This is to confirm your typing because your password is not shown on the screen. You need to use a mixture of upper case, lower case, numbers and special characters in order for the changed password to be accepted by the system. If you do not set a suitable password, the system will reject it and ask you to try again.
After the system has accepted the new password you will see this confirmation screen. You can now use your new password to access your account.
If you have never set a security question, or have forgotten what the answer is, you will need to contact your local IT Support Staff or the IT Services Help Centre for a Rescue Code. The Rescue Code, which has a lifetime of seven days, allows you to reset your security question and answer. That done, you will then be able to reset your password using the newly-set security question and answer.
Like Activation Codes, Rescue Codes are sent out via University post to college or departmental addresses, or can be given in person in the IT Services Help Centre on production of a valid University Card. If you're based outside of Oxford you should arrange with your college or department to forward or intercept your mail. Alternatively, you can ask a member of your college or department's officially registered IT staff to set a Rescue Code on your behalf.
If you have an email address which does not use your central University email account, you can register this with IT Services and in case of emergency we can use it to send you a rescue code or possibly advice if your University facilities cannot be accessed. This registration process requires your Single Sign-On account to be operational, so don't leave it too late!
4. Changing your password
You will need to change your password at least once a year, or earlier if you suspect that anyone else may know it. This can be done at https://webauth.ox.ac.uk/password by giving your username and existing password. The new password is not echoed, so you are asked to enter it twice as a precaution against typing errors.
The process to reset your password is shown in the following pictures.
Enter your account name and password in the
Oxford username and
Old password boxes. Now you will need to choose a new password and you type this into the
New Password box and you will need to repeat the new password in the
Re-enter new Password box. This is to confirm your typing because your password is not shown on the screen. You need to use a mixture of upper case, lower case, numbers and special characters in order for the changed password to be accepted by the system. You will see some advice on password selection on the right hand side of this screen. Once you are happy that you have typed your new password correctly in both boxes then click the
Change Password button.
If you have chosen a suitable password then the system will accept the new password and you will see this confirmation screen. You can now use your new password to access your account. If you do not set a suitable password, the system will reject it and will return you to the previous screen to try again.