CMS Login Changes Due Soon

15 Oct 2015--The Winlink Development Team is making changes to modernize the system and prevent abuse. We have begun to roll out changes to the Common Message Servers (CMS) that will alter the connection behavior of both client software and RMS servers. Previously, users could opt into using a secure login process. In the near future, it will be required of all accounts. Users and Sysops alike should note what to expect. We are working with 3rd-party software authors to help them implement their needed changes, and allowing for a generous grace period to allow updates and a smooth transition. Here's a summary:

1. All Winlink accounts will be required to log in to a CMS securely with a password. Currently, 'secure login' is optional for users, and many accounts do not have passwords. Before they are required later in the transition, the CMS has begun sending to users having non-secure accounts a new system-generated password. If you are not already using 'secure user login' in your client, WebMail on the web site, have not requested a Winlink password from the web site, or run an RMS gateway or RMS Relay station, your account probably does not have a password. You should look in your Winlink mail for a service message from the CMS containing a new unique password associated with your callsign account.

Note: Additional accounts using SSID variations of a callsign will always use the same password--the one associated with the base callsign, without "-0000" (SSID) appended.

Users can change their password, and request recovery of lost passwords using the Winlink web site. Be sure to add a password recovery address to your account settings!

2. Unless created by using RMS Express, all new accounts created by using a client making a first-time connection with a CMS will automatically receive their passwords in a service message. After a grace period, the CMS will require all connections to perform secure login. Prior to that, the password must be configured in a client program to allow successful secure connections.

3. Sysops need do nothing regarding passwords for the accounts running RMS gateways--they already use passwords for secure access to the CMS servers. They should be familiar with the changes in order to assist their users, however.

4. Tactical address accounts can not be used to log into a CMS, but may have associated passwords for security. Passwords are not required for tactical addresses, as they will be for all callsign accounts.

5. We will soon announce a cut-over date (we expect about six months from October 15, today) on which the CMS will begin rejecting un-secure (no password) connections for existing accounts.

--The Winlink Development Team

Sysop Guidelines and System Operating Policy Clarified

We have made changes to the written Sysop Guidelines that constitute a clarification of the Operating Policy of the Winlink System. Recent confusion and complaints from users about gateways using BPQ32 software have made this necessary. Unfortunately, the Sysops of the offending stations have configured their gateways in ways that place unexpected requirements upon users in addressing messages, caused changes in the gateway/login protocol, or generally caused confusion among users who attempt to use these PUBLIC gateways. As a consequence, we must insist that gateway sysops conform to the newly-published guidelines. They are published here. Please read them and make any necessary changes to your station, if affected, as soon as possible. Thanks!

--The Winlink Development Team

Remembering Hurricane Katrina

Ten years ago this month, Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the Gulf Coast of the US. Katrina was the deadliest hurricane to strike the United States since the Palm Beach-Lake Okeechobee hurricane of September 1928. It produced catastrophic damage and was the costliest U. S. hurricane on record, says the National Hurricane Center.

Below is an excerpt from "A Failure of Initiave", the report of a select committee of the US Congress to investigate the preparation for and response to Hurricane Katrina. Most say it is the ultimate "after action" report. The NCS is the National Communications System. SHARES is the Shared Resources High Frequency Radio Program, then run by NCS. Though Winlink was not used as a part of SHARES then, we are proud to say it is now integrated into the organization, and uses trained volunteer radio amateurs and government operators licensed through SHARES and the Department of Homeland Security. During the Katrina recovery, Winlink was fully credited for it's use by radio amateurs. ... (click 'read more' below)


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