* MIT Alumni Email Forwarding For Life (EFL) Security Issues

A cautionary tale about so-called email forwarding.

You may have missed this, I know that I did. In May 2020, MIT moved its alumni email forwarding for life (EFL) service to the Outlook 365 platform. I found no dated news stories about this change, only a single email from the MIT alumni association. The email discussed only the benefits, not the risks. And there are plenty of risks, including privacy and security.

While it is true that your existing email forwarding “just works” on the new platform, it is also true that a copy of each email message remains on the new platform unless/until you delete it.

* Alumni Email FAQ (UNDATED)
https://alum.mit.edu/alumni-email-faq

Imagine my surprise today when I found >3500 emails on a platform that I didn’t even know about!

* Outlook 365 Email
https://outlook.office.com/mail/inbox

MIT automatically keeping a copy of your email messages is a pretty big risk (and security issue) for professionals (such as lawyers) who need to adhere to strict document retention (and deletion) standards.

* Alumni Benefits and Offerings (UNDATED)
Email forwarding for life (EFL) is not listed.
https://alum.mit.edu/about/alumni-benefits-and-offerings

* Email & Forwarding (UNDATED)
Only two options are available: (1) Send email to my alumni Outlook account only, (2) Send email to both my alumni Outlook account and forwarding address(es).
https://alum.mit.edu/myaccount/#/email-forwarding

Obviously a forward-and-delete option (the way it used to work) is needed here.

And if you do intend to use this service, then you should make note of your “user unique identifier” (unique ID) here:

https://portal.office.com/account/?ref=MeControl#subscriptions

And you should add a “security method” (such as a cell phone number) here:

https://mysignins.microsoft.com/security-info

MIT should have addressed all issues (benefits, bugs, features, privacy, risks, security) up front. At the very least, you should be able to Google questions about these issues and find answers on the mit.edu website. You should not have had to find out about the features/bugs of MIT’s alumni email service from me.

I suspect that many MIT alum will cancel their so-called email forwarding account after reading this article.


Erik J. Heels claims to publish the #1 blog about technology, law, baseball, and rock ‘n’ roll.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.