MIT Kerberos accounts and other privileges that come with them are deactivated every year in January. If your account is up for deactivation, you will get an email from a member of the IS&T Service Desk staff sometime in November informing you about it, and a second warning in early January. Whether or not your account is going to be up for deactivation depends on when you were last a registered student or an employee at MIT.
Unfortunately, a common scam (known as "phishing") is to send email to all users at an organization claiming that their account will be deactivated if they do not reply to the email and include their username and password. These emails are a scam, and you should always ignore them.
Legitimate deactivation emails from MIT will NEVER ask you for your password. The email will merely contain information on the deactivation and information about what to do if you are still affiliated with the Institute.
A sample deactivation email is available here – note that it does not request your username or password.
When an account is deactivated, the user will be unable to login, will be unable to receive electronic mail on Athena, and will be unable to access files. Any email sent to the user after deactivation will bounce back to the sender. The user file directory and contents associated with a deactivated account will remain on-line for at least 3 months and usually about 1 year; however, the Service Desk will need to grant special permission to allow access to these files.
The existence of any data or files in your directory beyond this period cannot be guaranteed by Athena.
If you need to make special arrangements to backup or transfer your data prior to deactivation, or if you have any further questions about account deactivation, please contact the Service Desk.
For answers to frequently asked questions about deactivation, visit MIT Kerberos Account Deactivation FAQ.