MOE allows schools to ‘progressively resume’ use of Zoom
The Ministry of Education (MOE) has allowed schools to progressively resume the use of video-conferencing platform Zoom after having introduced three additional layers of defence.
They include an all-encompassing "security button" that consolidates the conferencing platform's security features.
The move comes after reports last week of privacy breaches while students were using Zoom. Hackers had hijacked the streaming of a lesson and showed obscene pictures to some students, and separately, sent out lewd messages.
Teachers were then told to stop using it for their home-based teaching and two police reports were made of the incident, MOE divisional director for the educational technology division Aaron Loh told The Straits Times yesterday.
MOE has since put in place three layers of defence, he added. Security settings on the platform have been consolidated to the security button, to make it easier for users to activate the settings.
MOE worked with the American conferencing platform on this, said Mr Loh.
In addition to the security button, the teachers' default security settings on Zoom are now centrally managed by the ministry to "further secure the platform across all school users in a consistent way".
Another layer of defence has MOE restricting the features of Zoom that teachers can leverage, such as disabling screen annotation and screen-sharing, as well as the use of the whiteboard feature, to avoid abuse or misuse.
"As security concerns are addressed and users become more familiar with the security protocols, we will progressively enable these features again," Mr Loh said.
The third security measure involves teachers signing off on the fact that they are familiar with the security protocols and are ready to follow the enhanced security settings for Zoom.
Only after submitting this acknowledgement of compliance will a teacher be allowed to carry out "live" lessons on the platform.
A Zoom spokesman previously told ST that the company had changed default settings for education users and was adding the need for passwords for its free basic users, a feature that was previously not enabled.