Koti Account Information


Policies and procedures

  • Koti users must comply with the VCU Information Security Policy and any associated standards and guidelines, and agree to not share your login credentials with others.
  • Koti is approved for housing "Category I" confidential and sensitive data, with these exceptions:
    • Storage of data originating from VCUHS is prohibited.
    • Payment Card Industry Data (PCI Data), such as credit/debit card numbers, is prohibited.
  • All data should be scrubbed to the fullest extent possible before placing it on Koti.  Remove any sensitive information or fields that are not needed in your analyses on Koti, or replace such with a mapped random value (and keep the mapping algorithm off of Koti).
  • It is the user's responsibility to:
  • Koti users must notify the VCU IT Support Center (itsc@vcu.edu, 828-2227) if and when their account is no longer needed.
  • To conserve storage space, Koti users are expected to remove data from Koti when it is no longer needed there.

Your account password

The initial password assigned to your account is the password that you specified when you requested your Koti account.  If you do not remember your password, please contact the VCU IT Support Center (828-2227 or itsc@vcu.edu) for assistance.

It is your responsibility to keep your password private and secure, as you would any valuable information.

For security purposes, you are encouraged to change your Koti password at least every few weeks or months, using the procedure discussed below.

If you do not change your password for 6 months, the Koti system will force you to change your password the next time you attempt to log in.  At that time, when you attempt to login, just after you enter your current password you will be asked to enter a new password.  Your new password must follow the rules shown below.

Note that your Koti password is not tied to your eID password (that you use for VCU email).  That is, if you change your Koti password, that does not also change your eID password, and vice versa.  Because Koti houses sensitive data, you should make your Koti password different from your eID password.

Changing your password:

To change your Koti password, log in to your Koti account (as described below) and issue the following command at the command prompt:


and then follow the directions presented.  First, you will be asked to type your current password and press Enter (for security, you will not see anything displayed on the screen as you type).  Then, you will be asked to type a new password.  Finally, you will be asked to re-enter the new password.

Your new password must:

  • contain at least 10 characters
  • contain at least 1 uppercase character
  • contain at least 1 lower case character
  • contain at least 1 digit
  • not be a dictionary word
  • differ from your current password by at least 4 characters

You are also encouraged to include special characters in your password, such as '$' or '%' or blank spaces, however they are not required.

Logging in to your account

Logging into Koti is a 2-step process:

  1. First, you must connect your PC or Mac to the VCU VPN ("virtual private network"), using 2-factor authentication.  For instructions, please see VCU VPN Via 2-Factor Authentication.  This "extra" step is required to help ensure that no one outside of the VCU community can access Koti, since Koti is approved for housing Category I sensitive data.
  2. Once connected to the VPN, then you can use an SSH program on your PC or Mac to login to your Koti account.  When you configure your SSH program, specify the host address of Koti as koti.vcu.edu.  Some available SSH programs are listed below:
    • For Windows:
      • MobaXterm:  Download and install MobaXterm (the free version is usually sufficient).  Launch MobaXterm.  Click the "Start local terminal" button.  In the window that appears, issue this command (replace jdoe with your Koti account name; also, that is a capital 'X'):
             ssh -X jdoe@koti.vcu.edu
      • X-Win32
      • PuTTY:  Text-only (no windowing).  Download and run the putty.exe file (no installation needed).  The first time you run PuTTY, you must perform a brief setup.  In the Host Name box, type "koti.vcu.edu" (do not type the quotes).  Then, in the Saved Sessions box, type "Koti".  Finally, click the Save button. Thereafter, to login to Koti, select "Koti" in the large box and click Open.
    • For Macintosh:
      • XQuartz:  Download and install XQuartz.  Launch it from the Applications / Utilities menu.  A small window will appear.  To log in, in that window issue this command (replace jdoe with your Koti account name):
             ssh -X jdoe@koti.vcu.edu
      • Terminal:  Text-only (no windowing).  Launch Terminal from the Applications / Utilities menu. &nbspIn the Terminal window, issue this command (replace jdoe with your Koti account name):
             ssh jdoe@koti.vcu.edu

When you are finished using Koti, be sure to log out by issuing the 'logout' command.

There is a 2-hour inactivity timeout on Koti.  If there is no activity in your Koti session for 2 hours (approximately), you will be automatically logged out of Koti.  You will, however, remain connected to the VPN, so you can immediately log back into Koti, if desired.

Using your Koti account

After you log in to Koti, you will see a "command prompt" displayed.  Here is an example prompt:

[jdoe@koti ~]$

Inside the square brackets, you see your account name (e.g., "jdoe") followed by "@koti", and you see the name of your current directory (the "~" tilde is a symbol that represents your home directory).  If you change your current directory, your new directory will then be displayed in the command prompt.  At the far right of the prompt is a "$" dollar sign.

When you see the command prompt, you may type a command and press the Enter key to request Koti to execute that command.  Depending on the command, while it is running (executing) it may display information on your screen.  When the command completes execution, you will receive another command prompt, so that you can then issue another command.

When you are finished executing commands, you should issue the "logout" command to end your Koti session.  Note that if you do not type any commands for a 2 hour period (approximately), you will be automatically logged out.

If you need to execute a command or program that will run for an extended period of time, you can execute it "in the background" by simply typing an "&" ampersand at the end of the command.  When you do that, you will immediately receive another command prompt (so that you can issue other commands or even log out), and your command or program will continue running (in the background) until it finishes.  For more information on this, including how to determine whether your command has finished, please see "Submit A SAS Program To Run In The background" (although that discusses executing the "sas" command in the background, the procedures described are similar for any command).

There are many commands that you can issue for launching software packages or performing various tasks on Koti. 

Here is information about some of the commands and software that are available on Koti.  Note that Koti currently runs the Red Hat RHEL 6 Linux operating system, which is a variant of Unix.

Text editors available on Koti include: 

  • nano (a simple editor; press Ctrl-x to save/exit and Ctrl-g for help)
  • emacs
  • vi and vim

Using SAS on Koti:

Other links that may be helpful:

Transferring Files

To transfer files between your computer and Koti, you can use either the MobaXterm, XQuartz, or Terminal program, noted above in Logging into your account.  However, log in using this command (replace jdoe with your Koti account name):

sftp jdoe@koti.vcu.edu

You will receive an sftp> prompt, at which you can issue commands.

To see a list of available commands, type a question mark "?" and press Enter.

When finished with your session, issue the quit command.

Drag and drop:  Additionally, if you use MobaXterm and log in using the ssh command (see Logging into your account above), you can transfer files by dragging and dropping files to and from the "Sftp" pane. located on the left side of the MobaXterm window.

This article was updated: 03/27/2019