Please Hack My Network

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Sheepdog-Iconography---Church-SafetyA couple weeks ago, I was in a small church in eastern Michigan. As I pulled out my iPad, I opened the “Settings” panel and searched for a WiFi network. The only network I found was completely open and unsecured.

After inquiring with someone from the church, I found out that their entire WiFi network was unsecured, with the desire and intent to allow anyone who is in the building to use their network.

As I talked further with the pastor, I tried to pass along that an unsecured network could lead to several different issues, from data intrusion to actual criminal mischief originating form the church. I used one of the tools on my iPad and mapped his complete network in front of his eyes, including any shared drives or printers. I then explained to him that traffic transmitted over this network could be compromised fairly easily with readily available software.

I also explained that anything that is done thru that network, including any criminal mischief or pornography, are all logged and traceable back to the church. I further explained that if someone was making threats or creating harm from that location, law enforcement could, and would, trace it back to the church.

I asked him a question that I would ask any church staff: If law enforcement began investigating, and even conducted a raid on the church for criminal internet activity, how much would that cost the church?

Not only would the church potentially incur legal fees and court fees, but the bad public image of the church could potentially do irrevocable harm. The media would certainly delight in a story about a church that had these issues, and the public fallout would reverberate for possibly years. What would such allegations do to the MINISTRY of the church? To their TESTIMONY? Or even their PARISHIONERS?

All of this could EASILY be avoided with a little technical setup and common, available technology. The right kind of router would allow the setup of a private, encrypted church network for staff and church business, as well as an unencrypted public WiFi network for anyone else to use. By then adding certain filters and other measures, a church can easily keep their network safe. This setup would allow a much more controlled access, allowing better defense against allegations, and better tracking and monitoring, all without much technical knowhow or expense.

If you are staff of a church, and want to offer public internet (which I believe can be a very good thing), please make sure you have your network setup correctly. If you would like help, or want more information, please CONTACT Bryan.

As a reminder, the majority of what is said above also applies to private (home or business) networks. Again, if you have questions, please CONTACT Bryan and ask.

If not, you might as well hang up a sign that says, “Please hack my network!”

Stay safe!

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