You’ve no doubt heard about major corporations targeted by hackers, but did you realize churches, schools, and other ministries are regularly targeted by cybercriminals as well? This year Adventist Risk Management, Inc. (ARM) is dedicating Safety Sabbath® to help Seventh-day Adventist ministries learn how to better protect their infrastructure and members from online attacks.
Safety Sabbath 2021Safety Sabbath is an annual event that encourages Adventist churches to focus on safety and risk management in their local congregations. ARM provides churches with resources free of charge for churches and other ministries to improve their safety and risk management practices.
In the past, Safety Sabbath has provided churches the opportunity to practice a safety drill focused on emergency preparedness. Churches that regularly think about, plan for, and practice safety protocols are better equipped to face threats to their members’ safety and security.
Safety Sabbath 2021 focuses on preventing online attacks, which can lead to costly data breaches that can impact the church and its members.
“Many churches are still worshiping online. This presents a greater need for churches to understand online security,” said David Fournier, vice president and chief client care officer, ARM. “Basic network security protocols are still needed. But conducting ministry online opens new possibilities for liability, especially when working with kids online.”
Online Safety for ChurchesChurches are vulnerable to online attacks from several different sources. Physical networks can be compromised because of improper network configuration settings or due to poor password management. Once the church’s network is compromised, hackers can access critical data or personal information stored on any device connected to the church network. This data is held for ransom or sold on the dark web.
Churches are often susceptible to social engineering attacks. Hackers use psychology to compromise a network at its weakest link, the “human element.” Phishing scams are among the most common forms of social engineering. They use authentic-looking email, text, and social media ads to trick users into clicking on a link that will give the hackers access to the user’s computer.
Social engineering scams aren’t limited to online schemes, and hackers regularly use physical media to access your network or data. A USB memory drive found on the street or in an airport may be infected with malicious software that installs on any computer it is plugged into.
Some criminals will put a new spin on classic con man tactics over the phone and even in person They want to convince their victim to do something that gives the hackers access to computer systems or networks.
How does this relate to your local church? Church staff and volunteers who have access to church computers need proper training to understand common threats and help the church avoid them.
How to Participate in Safety Sabbath 2021Participating in Safety Sabbath 2021 is easy, free, and open to any Adventist church, school, or ministry. Start by signing up on the ARM website to receive tips on preparing for Safety Sabbath. As part of this package, you’ll receive tools to help you promote online safety to your members.
You’ll also receive valuable resources to help you assess your church’s online safety and network security. These practical tools have been developed by industry-leading experts. They will help you identify weaknesses in your infrastructure, computer policies, and operational procedures.
Daily, kids are bombarded by digital messages and helping them know how to protect themselves is critical. This is especially true as many of them are participating in school or Pathfinders online. ARM has also developed unique resources that Sabbath School teachers can use to promote children and teens’ online safety in the youth Sabbath School classes.
Churches are encouraged to register to participate in Safety Sabbath 2021, held on the 4th Sabbath in March. However, the resources you receive can be used anytime, regardless if you are meeting in person or online.
Suppose your church, school, or ministry has been the target of an online cyberattack. In that case, you understand how damaging this can be for your ministry and your members. Not only are these attacks embarrassing and costly to repair, more importantly, but they can also take our focus off of ministry.