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ArkansasIDEAS – “Data Security Awareness: Module 5 – Public WiFi”

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  • Kayla Fletcher
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Public WiFi can be a great tool when you’re catching up with work. But are public WiFi connections safe? Public networks are unsecured, meaning your devices are vulnerable to a malware attack. Are you taking the proper precautions and using the right tools to keep your devices and student information safe?

The fifth module in the Data Security Awareness course is now available on ArkansasIDEAS. The new course launched its first module 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, phishing, email, public WiFi, and how to recognize and report security incidents.

According to Security Mentor, “WiFI hotspots are easily found, broadcasting their presence in airports, coffee shops and many other public places.” Using WiFi in public places comes with risks.

To help reduce the risks inherent in using public WiFi, including possible breaches of student data, 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 fifth module, “Public WiFi,” will launch on March 1, 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 fifth module:

“Just last week I was sitting down with a colleague when in the middle of our discussion this gentleman says, “You know! You’re kind of old-fashioned.” I don’t consider myself old-fashioned, but I guess I might be to a 25-year-old. I started thinking about my parents (who are old fashioned), and the values they tried to instill in me. I started to feel a sense of pride in the statement. You know what? Maybe I am old-fashioned. One of the things I remember my parents telling me as a child was, ‘Son, nothing in life is free.’ They also would say, ‘If it looks too good to be true, then it probably is.’ Here’s another childhood favorite, ‘Son, don’t trust strangers.’ I’m sure I’m not the only person whose parents used these lines once or twice. I do think it is interesting how we apply these teachings in today’s world. For example, what would you do if a WiFi connection came up on your phone that was titled Free SuperFast WiFi? I think we all know what most of us would do! Three childhood lessons broken with a single click! Shameful - I can already feel my parents’ disappointment ;-)

Our goal isn’t to shame or scare folks from using Wi-Fi. When trusted WiFi is working, it is a thing of beauty! The simple truth is that not all WiFi connections can be trusted. This month, join our campaign to learn practical tips for keeping your information safe while staying connected.”

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