Securing Zoom meetings and classes to prevent disruption

March 29, 2020
Mark V. Silis, Vice President for Information Systems and Technology | Krishna Rajagopal, Dean for Digital Learning, 2017–2022 |

To the MIT community:

As MIT gears up for remote classes starting Monday, we know that many of you are using or planning to use Zoom to facilitate your teaching, learning, and day-to-day work. We have heard your concerns about recent reports of people abusing features of the Zoom platform to disrupt online meetings, and are taking steps to prevent such disruption to MIT's online learning environment and broader community.

MIT has worked with Zoom to provide greater security options for all MIT meetings and webinars using, including those for online classes as well as other individual or group purposes.

Choose security to prevent disruption

Effective Sunday, March 29, new meetings and webinars now have the option of requiring participants to authenticate using MIT Touchstone to join. Note that individual hosts MUST choose these settings on a per-meeting (or per-account) basis.

Guidelines for all MIT Zoom meeting hosts:

  • For sessions that are part of our remote teaching effort, we strongly urge allowing only Touchstone-authenticated participants.
  • For uses other than remote teaching, if non-MIT attendees are invited, we strongly recommend requiring a meeting password.

MIT does not recommend allowing attendees to join any Zoom session without requiring either a password or Touchstone authentication.

Preserve safety and choice

Requiring user authentication will prevent the most common “ZoomBombing” scenarios that have been reported, while allowing MIT to continue to leave other features unchanged and available for virtual interactions. Choosing this approach allows us to try to safely preserve the same dynamic and flexible environment MIT is known for in this new remote teaching, learning, and working paradigm.

Update your existing meetings

We strongly urge you to consider updating any meeting you have already created to require Touchstone authentication for all class sessions and any MIT-only meetings, or to require a password if non-MIT attendees are invited, as this new option will not be automatically applied retroactively. 

Use best practices

If you are using Zoom for meetings, classes, or events with people from outside of MIT, please be mindful of the risks and use appropriate settings to minimize disruption and support your needs.

For more information and tips on providing a positive online teaching, learning, and working experience for you, your students, and your colleagues, visit this Knowledge Base article, and this blog post from Zoom.

Data privacy 

We have also been asked recently about data privacy. MIT’s contractual agreement with Zoom was developed by a consortium of US higher-education institutions and provides protections for the security and privacy of our data. In addition, all videos that any of us produce on Zoom and store in the Zoom Cloud can only be accessed by those who authenticate using MIT Touchstone.

Contact support

For 24x7 support from Information Systems and Technology (IS&T) for students, as well as for non-teaching IT needs, contact:

For resources, tools, and support for those teaching remotely, visit MIT’s Teach Remote website and the Teach Remote community.

For specialized 24x7 support for remote teaching/class facilitation for instructors, contact:

Thank you,

Mark Silis
Vice President for Information Systems and Technology,

Krishna Rajagopal
Dean for Digital Learning