Wednesday, July 22, 2015

What does the Ashley Madison Hack have to do with the Christian Church.

The Ashley Madison website, back-end databases and possibly its internal network were compromised by hackers calling themselves “The Impact Team” for an unknown period of time. The hackers happen to make themselves known over the weekend. It is unknown how the attack had occurred but 37 million user’s information, company financial data and detailed network information were stolen from the network. Also, the front page of their website was defaced. Samples of the stolen user accounts have been posted online but quickly removed via take down request. There is no guarantee that the data will not be placed online again.

The attack has exposed many millions of men and women desiring to have an affair. Additionally, their names, addresses, credit card numbers and other personal and identifiable information concerning their customers were stolen. Even past customer that paid to have all their information removed from the Ashley Madison system had their information stolen because their information was never removed as advertised. On the surface everything looks to be back to normal at Ashley Madison but behind the scenes they are recovering and working with law enforcement to track down the hackers.

What does this have to do with the Church of Jesus Christ? If the data is released it is likely that people who are hurt will shows up at churches looking for council and healing. Others may need help getting on their feet after going through a costly divorce. Confronting these issues are very important and the church needs to be involved but this is not the focus of this post. During my research of the issue I have seen that many people were supportive of the breech because the site helps people cheat on their spouses. People did not like the idea of helping people commit these acts.

It is clear that people are not in agreement with many of the views of the Christian Church. It is possible that an attack like this can happen to a church. Smaller attacks that defaced websites or steal banking information to transfer funds to overseas accounts have already been done. What would happen if your congregation database were stolen? Would this expose your parishioners to fraud? Do you keep a database of people in Celebrate Recovery? This could be very embarrassing for you and the congregant.

No matter the size of your church if you are keeping and maintaining any kind of database, website or computer network this information must be protected. It must be protected from insider and outsider threats. Many of the Christian’s views make the church a target and it must be prepared. In the coming weeks and months I will be posting some of the things that you can do to reduce the risk of a successful attack and lessen the impact of those attacks that are successful.