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IT Services Thanks All for Patience During Password Reset

April 10, 2023

On Saturday morning, March 25, 2023, the password management software ISU uses changed the passwords of 11,122 people affiliated with ISU, including students, faculty, staff, retirees, adjuncts, and emeritus faculty. Those 11,000+ people could not access BengalWeb, Moodle, or any other password protected system at ISU, as well as their email and calendars until they reset their password. 

The ITS Service Desk usually gets about 5 calls a day on the weekend, so they only have one person taking those calls.  Between 9 and 10 am that Saturday morning, the Service Desk took 19 calls–and another 112 callers left messages when they couldn’t get through. We had a major event on our hands. 

ITS employees who normally don’t answer phones for the Service Desk stepped up to help–on their days off.  When Monday morning rolled around, almost everyone at ITS was involved helping.  By the time the call volume returned to normal late Wednesday afternoon, ITS had helped 1272 people, including calling back those who had left messages when they couldn’t get through on the phone.  

“While it was an overwhelming task, the support of all the ITS staff and the patience of our clients went a long way in making the crisis manageable,” said Kindra Blair, Service Desk Manager. “We could not have tackled it without everyone stepping up and offering assistance.”   

Renae Scott, CIO, remarked, “Members from across the ITS team stepped up after we realized the scale of the crisis. We manned the service desk phones, dove in to call customers back, and came together in a remarkably cohesive way to get through the crisis.”

Blair added, “Kudos for the entire ISU community on their awareness of a potential hacking situation. While we were never compromised, it was clear cybersecurity training was taken seriously by everyone.” 

ISU was not the only institution affected by this vendor’s password reset, and the vendor has taken steps to ensure this does not happen again. ITS will take time to review our experience as well, to improve our crisis response measures. Additional ramifications from this password reset event will be addressed in the future as well.  

ITS wishes to thank everyone who remained patient and worked with them to get this crisis under control.  Blair commented, “We appreciated ISU users’ understanding and willingness to follow the self-service guidance we provided.”  


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