GLS Releases First-of-its-Kind ‘CSI: Phishing’ Game

Businesswoman typing and looking through magnifying glass against blue background, Key visual for CSI Phishing Game

GLS Releases First-of-its-Kind ‘CSI: Phishing’ Game, Turning Learners into Cybersecurity Investigators

New cybersecurity investigations (CSI) game revolutionizes anti-phishing training by putting end users in the driver’s seat

COLUMBIA, Md., (June 28 , 2022) – Global Learning Systems (GLS) announces the release of its new “CSI: Phishing” game, developed to address the growing threat of cyberattacks and data/security breaches resulting from human error and improper security habits. The phishing awareness training game simulates a real-world security breach by utilizing a game-based design. It challenges learners to apply their knowledge and analytical skills in a fun, engaging learning format. 


CSI: Phishing places the user in the role of a cybersecurity “investigator” tasked with finding the source of a recent security breach in their client’s network. The game takes place over a remote desktop simulation, where the investigator reviews and analyzes the email and social media/networking accounts of various employees, trying to assess the source of the breach. Evaluating a variety of emails and posts – some of which are safe, others which are not – the user flags anything they think is suspicious. 


The anti-phishing training game also uses a “virtual assistant” to provide feedback and guidance for the investigator as they progress through the game. The objective is to correctly identify suspicious and malicious messages or posts and determine the source of the breach, gaining points as they proceed.

According to GLS, a leading global provider of security awareness and compliance training, CSI: Phishing was designed to fill a critical gap in current anti-phishing training in order to effectively build sustained end-user awareness and behavior change. 


“While the marketplace offers standard tutorial-based training, as well as phish testing, there are very few training options that effectively utilize pure gamification to engage and educate learners,” says Larry Cates, president and chief executive officer at Global Learning Systems. “We see game-based learning as a key missing piece.” 


Unlike a standard course, CSI: Phishing encourages critical thinking and analysis in a low-stress and engaging environment. Furthermore, CSI: Phishing differs from traditional phish testing where users are the unwitting recipients of a test they may or may not fail. Instead, the gamification format gives users the opportunity to become the expert – demonstrating what they have learned and taking responsibility for phishing security.  


Allison Gordon-Beecher, GLS’s lead instructional designer and new products manager, compares traditional employee training to gamified training in an adult learning environment: “Most security awareness courses teach about phishing tactics by demonstrating an itemized list of ‘phishing indicators’ and then asking learners to review sample messages with examples of the indicators. The problem is that this approach encourages memorization of a list of indicators but provides very limited opportunity to practice analyzing phishing messages ‘in the wild.’ As many people know, practice makes a big difference when learning a new skill. GLS’s phishing awareness training game changes this paradigm by giving learners the opportunity to practice analyzing various messages and posts in email and social media accounts (including direct messages), just like they are required to do in their real work environment.” 

Watch a short demo of GLS’s cybersecurity phishing game

CSI: Phishing is the first release in a new series of game simulations that GLS is developing to address the market need for advancing learner awareness, resilience and prevention against emerging cyber threats. Additional game scenarios will focus on targeted attacks on finance and HR department personnel, IT privileged users, executives and others who are frequently the targets of advanced phishing attacks.


“We’ve had success using gamification in our product offerings for several years, and customer feedback has been extremely positive,” Cates said. “We will continue to expand our training offerings and capabilities using games, gamification and new innovative learning strategies to support end-user engagement and knowledge related to security awareness, anti-phishing and compliance training.” 


The CSI: Phishing game is designed to fit seamlessly into any security awareness training and communications program. It can be used alongside other anti-phishing training or on its own. GLS is currently offering CSI: Phishing as an individual course or as part of the company’s Elite training bundle.

About Global Learning Systems 

Global Learning Systems is an industry leader in security awareness and compliance training with more than 30 years of experience developing behavior change programs. Recognized by Gartner for five consecutive years, GLS’s security awareness solution enables organizations to customize programs that identify areas of vulnerability and change employee behavior to create a security-minded and compliance-oriented workforce.


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