Information Systems and Technology (IS&T), MIT’s central IT department, is here to provide you with advice and support on IT issues during your time at the Institute. Below are steps you should take to begin your digital life as an MIT student.
If at any point you have questions or need help, contact the IS&T Service Desk 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Step 1: Make sure you have an MIT-ready laptop
It is critical that you have a laptop that meets the minimum hardware requirements for MIT students. Due to the ongoing computer chipset shortage and other global supply chain issues, if you are planning to buy a new computer for the fall, IS&T strongly encourages you to order it as soon as possible. Students can get educational discounts by purchasing through vendors’ online education stores.
Step 2: Create your MIT identity
Your main MIT identity is your Kerberos account, a username and password that will grant you access to a many MIT systems, services, and resources. Look for an email from email@example.com with instructions for creating your Kerberos account.
Step 3: Register for Duo
MIT students are required to register for Duo two-factor authentication, which is an additional security layer to verify your identity via a physical device, such as your smartphone, a tablet, or even a landline.
IS&T strongly recommends that you register at least one backup device for use with Duo in case something happens to your primary device. YubiKeys are hardware authentication tokens that don’t require WiFi or cellular service and make excellent backup authentication devices. Students can request a free YubiKey from IS&T.
You will be prompted to sign up for Duo after creating your Kerberos account. This Knowledge Base (KB) article explains how to register devices for use with Duo.
Step 4: Set up your MIT email
Once you have your Kerberos account, you’ll be able to login to your MIT email, which the Institute uses to contact you about everything. Your email address will be YourKerberosUsername@mit.edu.
You can login to your MIT email account using your Kerberos credentials through a browser or an email app. IS&T recommends Microsoft Outlook, which is part of the free Microsoft Office bundle available to all MIT students.
- Undergraduate students: Access your email online at outlook.office.com. The KB has instructions for configuring Outlook to access your Microsoft 365 email account.
- Graduate students: Access your email online at owa.mit.edu. The KB has instructions for configuring Outlook to access your Exchange email account.
Grad students may also be assigned a departmental email address, e.g., @sloan.mit.edu, @csail.mit.edu. This account is separate from your @mit.edu account. Contact your department for more information.
Step 5: Install MIT certificates
An MIT certificate is a safe way to access MIT services, such as Student Information Systems, without having to type in a username and password. Certificates need to be renewed every year by the end of July. This KB article will walk you through installing MIT certificates.
Step 6: Protect your account, devices, and data
IS&T strongly recommends that you take the following precautions in order to protect your Kerberos account, devices, and information. All of the software and services referenced below are licensed by the Institute for your use at no extra cost.
- Implement the tasks for low risk data on MIT's Information Protection website, infoprotect.mit.edu.
- Learn how to recognize phishing attempts. Report phishy emails to IS&T’s Security Team by forwarding them as attachments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Use a password manager to generate and manage strong, unique passwords. IS&T offers LastPass Enterprise.
- Enable automatic updates of your devices’ operating systems and applications.
- Download and install CrowdStrike and Sophos security software to protect your computer.
- Implement whole disk encryption on your computer. For your mobile devices, enabling encryption is as easy as setting a password.
- Run full-system backups of your computer regularly. IS&T offers CrashPlan, a cloud-based backup solution.
Step 7: Securely connect to MITnet
There are several options for connecting securely to MITnet, the Institute’s campus-wide computer network, and accessing protected Institute services and resources.
Once you are on campus, you can connect wirelessly using the MIT SECURE WiFi network, and login using your Kerberos username and password. Wired internet connectivity is also available.
Off campus, you can securely connect to MITnet using MIT’s Virtual Private Network (VPN) anytime from anywhere using the GlobalProtect VPN client on your computer and mobile devices. The KB has installation instructions.
Step 8: Get applications and services
You have access to an array of apps and cloud-based services at no additional cost during your time as an MIT student. Using your Kerberos account and an MIT certificate, you can download or access anything that’s marked for use by students on the IS&T software grid.
Step 9: Bookmark MIT IT resources
Be sure to bookmark these online resources about IT at MIT: