UPDATE: There have been important changes to Zoom controls since this message. Find them here.
March 28, 2020
Dear faculty colleagues,
On Monday, we resume our semester with many classes in new remote learning environments. As peer universities have recently begun to offer classes through Zoom, there have been some isolated instances of an unfortunate trend called “Zoombombing.”
What is Zoombombing?
Zoombombing happens when uninvited guests join Zoom meetings and share their screens to bombard real attendees with disturbing and/or violent imagery. Most of these are perpetrated through publicly available Zoom links, but that is not always the case.
What is the current risk?
We currently have no information indicating an intent to target classes at UT Austin, but we need campus to be aware and prepared. As a precautionary measure, Information Technology Services (ITS) developed this guidance regarding Security and Privacy and how faculty members can protect their virtual classrooms.
Changes to Zoom settings that WILL affect your Zoom Class
Additional precautionary measures have been taken by Zoom and ITS to provide more protection.
- Zoom changed the screen sharing settings within accounts to automatically default to “Only Host.” This setting gives Zoom hosts sole permission to share content within their meetings by default.
- The waiting room feature is turned on for all faculty members. This feature can be turned off for a particular meeting by clicking the waiting room button during the meeting setup process.
- Students using their UT Zoom account will be admitted automatically to their class Zoom meetings. If they attempt to join via a free Zoom account, they will be placed in the waiting room, where you can admit them from the Participants window. This will quickly go away as students claim their UT Zoom accounts.
We strongly encourage you to visit the Security and Privacy page from ITS to review all options available to faculty members. If you have additional questions or concerns, IT support in your respective college or school is available here.
It is unfortunate that we must also prepare for individuals who wish to exploit this crisis. I know you are already dealing with so much in your own lives and as we prepare for classes to resume. If you experience Zoombombing or a similar intrusion of your classes, please let us know so we can work to support you and respond.
I hope that each of you has found time away from work this weekend, and I wish you the best of luck this coming week!