Cyber attack hits U.S. ministry

By March 20, 2008

USA (MNN) — Violence against Christians is happening all over the world, but most wouldn't expect it in the United States. Religious hatred could be the reason for an attack on a United States ministry, but it's not what you may think. This was a cyber attack.

Sammy Tippit of Sammy Tippit Ministries works in areas of the world where training pastors, planting churches and sharing the Gospel isn't popular. Part of that training takes place over the internet. "We have eight languages. And these languages go into countries such as Pakistan, Iran, China and India. We're reaching into some places where missionaries cannot go, and we're doing that through our website."

Tippit says this has apparently drawn the attention of anti-Christians somewhere in the world. "Someone went into our international site and deleted every bit of content. Then they went back in and they took down the server and basically destroyed it."

Tippit is confident his ministry was the target because none of the other ministries hosted on the server were attacked.

While this is troubling, Tippit is also encouraged. "When something like that happens and someone is that upset, you know that what we are doing is working. So we're reaching people in some of these difficult areas. And for [the website] to be targeted, there is fear, and Satan is trembling."

Unfortunately, the attack took place just before the system was backed up. When the back-up was initiated, it backed-up empty servers.

Heartbreaking for Tippit was the life-long amount of work that was thought to have been lost. "I've got daily devotions, I've got audio and video preaching and teaching — years and years of work. We've just got literally thousands and thousands of hours of translations that would be very hard to duplicate."

Now the backups are being backed-up, and there are other systems are in place to prevent this type of attack in the future.

Since his website is being attacked, we asked Tippit if he was concerned for his safety as he travels. "That's always a concern, but we just can't live in fear. We have to do what God has given us to do. We try to take precautions as we travel. But we're just going to go forward. I've been going into these types of countries, so we'll continue doing that, and we'll continue reaching out."

The good news is 90-percent of the data has been restored. Tippit says, "We think that we've got most of it. We do not have the Urdu (Pakistan) site up yet, but we're working on it, and we hope to have it up back up very soon."

Funding is needed to help off-set the cost of technicians to do the work. Click here to give.

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