Computer and network access at Mount Holyoke College is provided in accordance with our Acceptable Use Policies (AUP).

This document describes some of these policies and has references to other documents for policies on specific topics.

While some infractions are simply violations of etiquette, some infractions can put the institution at risk and others are CRIMES for which you could be prosecuted (e.g., violation of copyright laws or breaking into another system and destroying information).

Between these extremes are usage behaviors that adversely affect other users or adversely affect the operation of the computer systems or networks to which they are attached.

For your use only

This account is for your use only. The password is not to be given to anyone else for any reason. If you suspect someone has obtained your password, change it immediately and request assistance from LITS (x2600) if necessary.

Sharing of accounts is strictly prohibited. The use of your account by anyone else is considered a breach of system security.

Password Security

Because of the growing numbers of passwords we all have to contend with, having a personal strategy for password security is important.

You should consider having a few, unrelated and very secure passwords for specific purposes, such as your banking and credit card(s) and your MHC account.

  • Unique password
    Your primary MHC password should be different from any other password. It should not be used for other purposes such as Meeting Maker or a Windows login. It should absolutely never be used on any non-MHC computer.
  • Safe and secure password
    Your password should have a high degree of internal security so that it cannot be guessed or discovered using hacking tools. Selection of secure passwords is discussed in our password changing programs.
  • Changing passwords
    Passwords should be changed to unrelated passwords periodically. This reduces the chance that the system will be compromised because someone was able to detect or discover your password.

    Too frequent password changes, however, can lead to easy to guess passwords.

  • Storage of passwords electronically
    Do not allow your desktop computer to "remember" passwords for you. This is a problem for two reasons. First, it can cause you to forget your password. Second, it means that anyone with physical access to your computer can access your information.
  • Storage of passwords physically
    It is best practice to never write down your password. If a password must be written down on a piece of paper, store the paper in a secure place. Never write your password where anyone else might discover it. Destroy the paper as soon as it is no longer needed.

Infractions of acceptable use

  • Illegal activities
    Illegal activities using the College network or computers are prohibited. (Many of the specific examples below fit into this category.)
  • "Hacking"
    Attempting to gain unauthorized access to any other system. In some cases, this may fall into the category of criminal behavior.
  • Copyright law violation
    Copyright infringement can put you and/or the institution at risk of legal action which can, at the very least, be very expensive.
  • Commercial use
    College computers and network will not be used for any personal business activity that is not related to the mission of the College. While this does not preclude intermittent posting of items for sale in appropriate newsgroups, advertising is not permitted. Presentation of a personal resume on your personal homepage is not considered a commercial purpose.
  • Excessive use of resources
    The computers and network are a shared resource. It is difficult to define exactly what is excessive use of these resources, but if affects others' uses of the systems, it is excessive.

    As a user of the computer system, you are a member of a larger community. Actions you take have an effect on others. For example, excessive use of disk resources or computer time can negatively impact others' use of the system and will have to be curtailed unless special and valid reasons are given. (It is usually the case that occurrences of these problems are accidental and are corrected by informing the individual of the problem.)

    Another example would be a personal computer system spewing large amounts of traffic onto the network.

  • Inappropriate resource use
    Various resources, such as disk space, is provided for specific purposes. For example, disk space in a departmental shared area should not be used for personal information. Another example would be the use of a mailing list for something other than its intended use.
  • Allowing access to campus resources to non-community members
    This may occur, for example, if a personal computer is compromised (hacked) or infected with a virus or a "bot".
  • Harassment and other unwanted contact
    Do not continue to attempt communications with someone who has indicated that communication is not desired. After someone has indicated that communication is not desired, continued attempts may be considered harassing.
  • Falsifying identity
    Forgery or other misrepresentation of one's identity via any form of electronic communication.
  • Spam
    Do not send unsolicited bulk email (spam) not related to the College mission. Do not use mailing lists for purposes for which they were not intended.
  • Network attached devices
    Any device on the network that adversely affects the network should be removed.

For more details on Acceptable Use, please see Policy on Responsible Use of Computing Resources at Mount Holyoke College (.pdf)