I saw this news article posted and it made me cringe. Apparently a Muslim hacker managed to gain access to a host server for Ryan Leisure Enterprises, or R Leisure Enterprises, or CheapChurchWebsites.com. I’m not sure if this is because Ryan Leisure used a poor password and user ID combination or if there was some other form of security neglect. Hacking a well encrypted password and log in is not easy and I doubt that this hacker was capable of doing it which means the issue likely had more to do with the user/operator of the host servers.
Once in, the hacker defaced the church websites and bailed.
Some of the commentary I’ve seen online is critical of the hacking and makes this out to be a persecution issue for the modern church.
In my opinion, I think we’re letting this Cheap Church Website business, R Leisure Enterprises, and the churches who hired them off the hook too easily.
Every business, when hiring someone to market for them in any sort of fashion, should be diligent and careful about vetting their contractor/marketer. There is significant risks involved in associating yourself with any business both from a security stand point and from the standpoint of having conflicting messages.
Automatically for nearly every industry, someone advertising themselves as ‘cheap’ should raise a red flag. Usually this means a lower quality and less informed product/service/outcome then someone who is offering a good value.
In this case, the churches paid for their decision to hire someone who was targeting them as a business opportunity with ‘cheap’ promotions. Of course, Ryan Leisure gets to look like the victim, but ultimately, he is responsible for his server security (which is why a good web designer relies on external hosts that have more significant security functionality).
If you or someone you know is looking for a website to be developed, encourage them to look for quality work, and not ‘cheap’ work. There are good values and then there is cheap.