Search Google Appliance

Information Technology

UPDATE: Secure Your Online Spaces

April 9, 2020

The transition to online teaching and learning, and remote work in general, has highlighted new cybersecurity challenges and concerns. Among them, the need for campus communities to protect online spaces against hackers, disruptors, and others with malicious intentions. Members of the university community may have heard of ‘Zoombombing,’ online Zoom classes that were disrupted in the past few weeks by individuals spewing racist, misogynistic, or vulgar content.

Just as we are used to locking our doors and securing our physical surroundings, the same due diligence applies to virtual environments. As a community, we need to better secure our online spaces.

General Recommendations

UMass Amherst Information Technology (IT) recommends that students, faculty, and staff secure their online meetings, class sessions, recordings, or webinars to prevent potential disruptions. Specifically, we encourage you to:

  • Become aware of the security and privacy settings of the communication platforms you use (e.g., Zoom, Moodle/Blackboard).
  • Secure your Zoom meetings and recordings to prevent unauthorized access to your online courses, meetings, and cloud recordings (see below).  
  • Contact the Information Security Office (itprotect@umass.edu) to report unsolicited disruptions to your online events.

Secure Your Zoom Videoconferencing Sessions

When you use UMass Amherst Zoom (https://umass-amherst.zoom.us/), you are using an enterprise version of Zoom, which is different from the commercial version. UMass Amherst's contract with Zoom contains a FERPA (Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act) privacy clause which allows virtual instruction delivery using this platform. 

  • Use the latest version of the software. In response to security and privacy concerns, Zoom is releasing frequent updates and patches to their software. Recent updates include a new Security Icon now available in the main meeting toolbar for quick access to security settings.
  • Each online meeting or class session comes with a unique meeting ID. Do not make this ID public (post it on websites, social media, etc.).
  • Require a password for your class sessions, webinars, or virtual meetings. You can restrict access to to members of the UMass Amherst community or set up a password for each session. 
  • Disable screen sharing before the meeting starts. You can re-enable screen sharing for specific participants while you are in the meeting. 

More step-by-step instructions for controlling participation in your Zoom meetings, securing your cloud recordings, and ajusting security settings.

How can I learn more?

UMass Amherst Resources

Zoom Resources

Other Resources