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Rutgers officials comment on recent Zoom-bombings, online safety

The Office of Information Technology has created a webpage that displays various tips regarding virtual conferencing safety and security measures for the Rutgers community. – Photo by Rutgers.edu

Several University officials have commented on steps being taking to improve online security after multiple Zoom events held in honor of Black History Month were targeted by an unknown group who broadcasted racial slurs and violent videos, The Daily Targum previously reported.

Rutgers—New Brunswick Chancellor Christopher J. Molloy issued a University-wide email on Feb. 12 condemning the acts and said he is working with the University to investigate the crimes, the Targum reported.

“Due to these recent malicious activities, it’s imperative that we take the steps needed to minimize risk and prevent further harm,” he said, according to the email. 

On Thursday, Michele Norin, senior vice president and chief information officer of the Office of Information Technology (OIT), released a list of measures to the Rutgers community that should be taken to help prevent such instances from occurring and to promote online safety.

She said community members should take advantage of the resources on the OIT web conferencing security page, which includes tips to prevent Zoom-bombings and intruders, among many other resources.

Another important tip, Norin said, is to avoid sharing any information pertaining to the meeting on social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook or other public forums to ensure the meeting is more secure and unwanted guests are prevented from joining. 

With the pandemic forcing students around the world to shift to remote instruction, University spokesperson Carissa Sestito said virtual conferencing platforms have become an important tool for education, though online security must be improved.

“Rutgers is committed to ensuring safe and secure web conferencing for all community members,” she said.

Sestito said one security measure the University is taking is requiring the use of Rutgers NetIDs when creating Rutgers Zoom or Webex accounts which are needed to schedule and host meetings. 

Additionally, she said the University is working closely with the OIT not only on the investigation, but also to provide the community with increased information regarding online security.

“To nurture and protect the Rutgers community in this virtual environment, and in light of recent Zoom-bombing incidents at Rutgers and other institutions, we want to share best practices to help ensure your web conferencing meetings are secure,” Norin said.


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