CullmanTimes.com - Cullman, Alabama

Religion

June 12, 2012

Unprotected sects: Church websites more likely to have viruses

As with herpes, one of the peripheral embarrassments of contracting a computer virus is that everyone has a pretty good idea of what you were up to when you got it. Oh sure, it's possible you just chastely pecked a misleading email link. But odds are you picked it up because you were dallying on one of those shady, fly-by-night websites that people visit when they're seeking fulfillment. You know — religious sites.

What's that? Church blogs and Christian youth forums aren't the first thing that comes to mind when you think of scareware, malware, worms and Trojan horses? They should be. In its latest annual Internet security threat report, Symantec, the maker of Norton AntiVirus software, found that "religious and ideological sites" have far surpassed pornographic websites as targets for criminal hackers. According to the company you're now three times as likely to encounter malware — insidious software that can steal your data, pelt you with spam, or enslave your machine in a botnet — on your local church blog as you are on a porn site.

The explanation is straightforward: The entrepreneurs who run adult websites are old hands at Web security, and they've long since learned to use protection. Those who build and host church websites, by contrast, may have the best intentions, but they tend to be naive and inexperienced. For hackers, that makes them easy prey.

Take Stephen Morrissey, a Pittsburgh-area e-commerce architect who moonlights as a Web developer for churches looking to establish an online presence. He admits he didn't have the first clue about Web security when he volunteered to build a website for his mother's small church in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. three years ago. He had designed simple, static Web pages before, but for the church he used a popular, freely available scripting language called PHP to add a few interactive elements.

Text Only
Religion
  • SH blessing of throats.jpg Sacred Heart holds Blessing of the Throats

    Members of Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in Cullman took part in the annual ancient tradition of the Blessing of Throats recently following the morning masses.

    February 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • SH Boy Scout Troop 321.jpg Sacred Heart's Boy Scout Troop honored

    Members of Boy Scout Troop 321 from Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church were honored during Mass on Scout Sunday recently in Cullman. The troop has been supported by the Church since it's inception in the early 1950s and takes part

    February 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Methodists in crisis over gay marriage, church law

    The dispute among United Methodists over recognition of same-sex couples has lapsed into a doctrinal donnybrook, pitting clergy who are presiding at gay weddings in defiance of church law against proponents of traditional marriage who are trying to stop them.

    February 6, 2014

  • St. B. March for Life.jpg St. Bernard students attend March for Life

    St. Bernard students joined with the Diocese of Birmingham and 400,000 other pro-life supporters in Washington DC for the annual March for Life during the last week of January, capturing the attention of media mongrel CNN.
     

    February 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • computer.jpg Pope sees Internet as 'gift from God'

    Mark Pope Francis down as an Internet optimist. He declared his unambiguous support for the Web as a tool that brings humanity closer together in a papal statement Thursday.

    January 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • White Jesus The race of Jesus: Unknown, yet powerful

    For two thousand years, he has been worshipped and adored. Multitudes look to him each day. And yet nobody really knows the face of Jesus.

    December 27, 2013 1 Photo

  • SH Our Lady of Guadalupe celebration.jpg Sacred Heart Church's Our Lady of Guadalupe celebration

    Hispanic members of Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in Cullman enter church dressed in ceremonial garments of their native homeland and carrying mosaics of their patroness, Our Lady of Guadalupe.

    December 18, 2013 1 Photo

  • SH Christmas program.jpg Huntsville Collegium Musicum Christmas Program at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church

    Eight members of The Huntsville Collegium Musicum presented an acapella concert at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church recently featuring a musical depiction of the Christmas story. Using music dating back to 1420, the program featured works by Cristobal Morales, Jean Mouton, Gustav Holst and Johann Walther as well as the words of American poet Joshua Smith from the eighteenth century.   

    December 18, 2013 1 Photo

  • OCC shoeboxes.jpg Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Ministry

    Another record has been broken by local contributors of gift filled shoeboxes to the Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Ministry Project. The OCC Collection Center for Cullman County at Christ Covenant Presbyterian Church collected 6,352 shoeboxes, breaking the previous record of 5,335 shoeboxes collected last year.
     

    December 10, 2013 1 Photo

  • Christ Lutheran Church and its tornado cross.jpg Processional cross returned to Christ Lutheran Church

    When the tornado tore through Cullman April 27, 2011, one of the many buildings destroyed was Christ Lutheran Church. Stunned residents throughout the city came out of shelters moments after the tornado hit and were awed by the destruction.
     

    December 10, 2013 1 Photo