Nonprofits and Technology

Church suffers breach

Ada Bible Church’s senior pastor assures attendees no financial information was compromised.

May 18, 2018
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(As seen on WZZM TV 13) Cyberattackers hit an unlikely target in April: Ada Bible Church.

The church’s senior pastor, Jeff Manion, made an announcement to his congregation during a service April 29, saying an unauthorized person gained access to the church’s network a week earlier. The church averages approximately 9,500 attendees per week.

Manion said the attack encrypted all of the church office’s files and servers, rendering office staff incapable of accessing the network.

“Understatement of the day is this has been a major, major hassle,” he said.

As a result of the ongoing investigation, however, staff found no indication any congregation member’s data was stolen.

Additionally, Manion assured the congregation none of their financial information was compromised. While some members choose to give online, by text or by credit card, the church does not store that information on its own servers.

Manion said Ada Bible Church has a “secure, third-party provider,” which stores congregants’ financial data.

“While our files are encrypted, and we’re trying to sort that out, we’re just overwhelmingly grateful that it hasn’t touched the security that we have in offering to our families in their ability to give online or with text giving,” he said.

The church also announced on its Facebook page, “It is of critical importance to us to share the life-changing message of Jesus in a secure environment that is free from anxiety about the privacy and safety of your information. We thank you in advance for your prayers as we investigate, repair and restore our information technology infrastructure.”

The church did not provide any further detail on the investigation but said its internal teams are working with “third-party experts” to assess how the breach happened and to prevent it from happening again.

Ada Bible Church has four campuses: 8899 Cascade Road SE, Ada; 2045 68th St. SE, Caledonia; and 3869 Knapp St. NE and 1640 East Paris Ave. SE both in Grand Rapids.

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