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Q: What is

  • What is
  • Is legitimate?



We've gotten a few questions on whether the service at is legitimate. (Notice the address ending in .net instead of .edu.)

Short answer

Yes, it is. MIT owns the domain and is running the emergency notification service on It is replicated and will normally go to the same place as Having it routed through a .net domain gives MIT additional recovery options in case something happens to the campus network or the registrar for .edu domains.

More information

  • In December of 2008 the MIT Security & Emergency Management Office conducted an initial test of the emergency notification system
  • Additional test are being conducted in early February 2009,asking a new set of testers to participate
  • These tests send out email messages and cell phone text (SMS) messages to a subset of MIT staff who registered for cell phone emergency notification during a sign-up push in September of 2008
  • The testers are an automatically selected sample of staff who registered; it was not opt-in
  • Those where were included in the test received an email from William VanSchalkwyk (billv at similar to the below
  • They also received a text message on their cell phone asking them to go to to fill out a survey
  • This can cause some confusion because it sounds a little like a Phishing exercise, directing folks to what appears to be a non-MIT domain to submit information
The notification email that was sent out
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 2008 16:39:39 -0500
From: William VanSchalkwyk <billv@MIT.EDU>
Subject: MIT Alert:  Please Confirm Contact Info!
To: <your email address here>

In an emergency, one of the many methods MIT may use to communicate
with you is to send a brief SMS text message to your cell phone or
other mobile device.

To ensure that we are able to send a text alert to your mobile device,
please take a moment to verify that the information listed below is

     <your cell phone number here>

If this information is not correct, please update your MIT Alert
mobile device contact information at:

Not sure if you can access text messages on your mobile device?  Click
here for more information:

If you encounter problems or have questions, please contact us at or see for details about the
MIT Alert emergency communication program.

A test of MIT Alert emergency text messaging will occur some time in
late January.  We will contact you in advance to provide details.

Thanks for your help.

William VanSchalkwyk, CSP, CHMM
Managing Director
MIT Environment, Health, and Safety Programs
Room N52-496

See also

IS&T Contributions

Documentation and information provided by IS&T staff members

Last Modified:

February 05, 2009

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