Hacked

cat5 cableThe NY Times brought news that the Chinese military has hacked into American companies and stolen terabytes of data (huge amounts – 1 terabyte is 1000 gigabytes). The attacks began at places like Coca-cola, but “increasingly its focus is on companies involved in the critical infrastructure of the United States — its electrical power grid, gas lines and waterworks.” (article).

This left me with pictures of brilliant hackers, using code to covertly cross the internet and break past network firewalls. But last night Marketplace revealed the entry point was not so inventive. Instead the hackers use “spearfishing” attacks (article). These attacks have a cool name, but they are the basic junk emails we all receive. The spam will ask you to click a link or download an attachment. It is often a ridiculous message that uses poor grammar to promise results in the bedroom or lower priced drugs or… We all know NOT to click on those links. This espionage would be rejected in a Hollywood script – no audience could believe people are so foolish…

And yet, we are so foolish. Even to the point of endangering national security – putting knowledge, potentially control, of our infrastructure into the hands of a foreign government…

Why?

I have begun rereading Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Cost of Discipleship. The forward provides a brief history of his life – a life that brought him, the pastor, against the rising power of Hitler. His boldness eventually lead to his execution in a concentration camp. Sitting in the future I am amazed by Bonhoeffer’s bravery. But I am also a little jealous. His choice seems so black and white. Hitler was the epitome of evil. The Third Reich was clothed in sin. I wish my choices were so clear.

But my perspective only comes from the clarity of the future. Even that moment in Germany was filled with the colored shades of reality (most of the church in Germany supported Hitler). The colors of reality hinder us from finding the truth. So when we are in an epic moment, we rarely realize the significance. And in this confusion it is easy to go with the flow. It is easy to not consider the ramifications of our actions.

And here in lies the problem for the church. We do not understand the epic story in which we are involved. So we moderate our actions. We stand idle.

If the choice were clear we might all step boldly, but in the fog of the moment we go back to clicking our email…

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