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Taylor fights against email phishing

Security awareness training for employees

Autumn Dominique | Echo

Starting on Sept. 4, Taylor University is now requiring all faculty and staff to take an online training module on security awareness with the hopes of avoiding email phishing.

Assistant Director of Human Resources April Evans works to prevent email phishing.

Assistant Director of Human Resources April Evans works to prevent email phishing.

Taylor did not create the module itself, but instead collaborated with Deltec Solutions and KnowBe4, one of the most prominent companies in information security training. April Evans, assistant director of human resources, said they created a learning approach on how to deal with the dangerous phishing emails that Taylor employees receive.

“Formally speaking, we have signed up for a one-year contract for the KnowBe4 product with a company based out of Muncie, Deltec Solutions, who will help to administer the training,” Rob Linehan, chief information officer, said.

The goal is for all Taylor employees to complete one module during this fall and another module in the spring semester. In addition to these two modules, employees will receive extra practice with handling phishing emails.

“Throughout the year, random simulated phishing emails will be sent out as another form of ‘real-time’ training,” Evans said.

This security training has been in the works for quite a while, according to Linehan. It is not uncommon for the university to receive phishing emails, nor is it uncommon for faculty and staff to accidentally open these emails. Some of the harmless-looking emails have convinced employees to enter their Taylor University login information.

Although there is hardware and software already in place in order to block harmful emails, some of these still find a way in. Because of how common these emails are, it is important to the university that its employees are properly trained on how to deal with this problem.

“We are living in a world where we have to be vigilant in the area of cyber security,” Evans said. “We must be knowledgeable in the area of phishing email scams to protect our personal information and university data.”

Taylor is being sure to provide the best training in order to protect employees and the university from these attacks.

This project was a decision made by the Business and Finance Office, HR and the IT department. HR and the IT department are in charge of coordinating the training.

The faculty and staff must complete the 30-minute training module by October 26. After this date, the random simulated phishing emails will start being sent out. The results of this will show if the training was effective or not.

Students should be aware that the issue of phishing is not restricted to faculty and staff. Students can also be targeted.

“We sent out an informational email to students last week to make students aware of this scam,” Linehan said. “I’d emphasize that for any faculty, staff or student who are not sure about the legitimacy of an email request in their Taylor email to contact the Help Desk in the Zondervan Library.”

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