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ArkansasIDEAS – “Data Security Awareness: Module 3 – Phishing”

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  • Kayla Fletcher
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Phishing attacks can come in a variety of sizes and through a plethora of platforms. Stereotypically, phishing messages have been linked to broken grammar and frequent errors, however this is not the case in the most recent forms of phishing. Some are apparent and indiscriminate, while others are more polished. Are you taking proper precautions to avoid a phishing attack, or are you potentially putting yourself and your confidential information at risk?

The third module in the Data Security Awareness course is now available on ArkansasIDEAS  The new course launched on Nov. 1, 2018, and was created in partnership with the Arkansas Department of Education’s Security Awareness Campaign. The course is an opportunity for educators to be trained on a variety of security topics that focus on awareness, passwords, email, phishing, public WiFi, and how to recognize and report security incidents.

According to Security Mentor, “Phishers are masters of disguise, making malicious messages look legitimate.”

To help identify and become aware of how phishers manipulate our emotions, the Security Mentor modules are packed full of interactive lessons, opportunities for educator reflection, and a collection of the Security Awareness Campaign posters to help include students in the conversation.

The third module, “Phishing,” will launch on January 2, 2019, and additional modules in the first course being released monthly through April 2019. ArkansasIDEAS, the Arkansas Department of Education, and the Security Awareness Campaign plan to launch the remaining modules in a second course beginning October 2019.

Arkansas Department of Education Director of Data Use & Privacy Ray Girdler had the following to share about the launch of the third module:

“I’m not sure if “phishing” is a new term for many folks. I’m certain if you are familiar with the word “spam” (not the kind that is deliciously canned), phishing probably is not new to you. It wasn’t until I started to learn more about cyber security threats that I became more concerned about the items arriving in my inbox. Did you know that phishing accounted for over 90 percent of social engineering incidents in 2017 (Verizon 2017 Data Breach Investigation Report)? Even though phishing was not a new concept to me when I started to learn about best practices, understanding the threat associated with phishing really got my attention.

I think phishing has been so popular for so long because it is very effective. It only takes one person within your organization to compromise the entire network. It really is scary to think that it only takes one person, one click, or one second. I know everyone is busy, busy, busy. I do not know a single educator that would ever say, 'We have too much time and not enough work.' For that matter, I’ve not heard anyone who works in or with schools make such an outlandish statement. The truth is, we’re all overworked in this field. When it comes to our email, we have to slow down. We can’t be so quick to click. As education professionals, we have to start applying the same protective instincts that is embedded within our DNA in how we interact with technology. Get involved this month to learn more about how to spot and defend against phishing attack! We all have to start somewhere.”

“Data Security Awareness: Security Mentor Modules 1–6” is available through ArkansasIDEAS at The first three modules are currently available. Additional modules to be released through April 2019 will include:

  • “Email Security,” February 2019.
  • “Public WiFi,” March 2019.
  • “Reporting Incidents,” April 2019.