The news of millions of personal identities or at least, identifiers, being stolen by hackers from the giant credit-rating Equifax Corporation (9500 employees) (1) was unsettling and shocking. In recent years, we have become accustomed to hearing news of personal information being stolen or exposed online by hackers. We read the frequent headlines and move on to stories of greater personal interest. A bit too complacent, we are.
Some industry analysts and tech experts claim the Equifax breach is the most severe and critical hacking crime committed to-date. (2) 143 million citizens in the United States have become very vulnerable and could remain so for many years to come. In addition to tens of millions of Americans, an unidentified number of Canadian and United Kingdom citizens have also been compromised. Someone else has their full names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, home addresses, and, in some cases, even their driver license numbers. And of this you can be certain: that ‘someone-else’ does not have good intentions. It could be any criminal or criminal gang in the world or the under-world. Or it could be a hostile nation who will find ways to exploit people of interest.
Credit card numbers can easily be changed if fraudulent activity happens. Online account numbers and passwords can be modified too. But your full name, your date of birth and social insurance number and a few other things are just a bit more difficult to modify. Yes, possibly the worst breach ever.
Hackers spend their time looking for vulnerabilities online – computer programming and software deficiencies. The smallest pin-hole weakness in a company’s systems that can be discovered by hackers, can also be exploited for their nefarious purposes.
A few days after the story above broke, a new detail added a disturbing twist. The Apache Foundation, the group that oversees the software Equifax and many other companies use, issued a ‘patch’ to correct the deficiency in the software. All software users were alerted to the deficiency and urged to apply the patch to their own in-house systems – even if it was a labour-intensive task to modify their websites.
The corrective patch/fix became available in early March. Equifax’s data was stolen in May – two months after the solution had become available. (3) If this is true, think of the serious consequences of Equifax’s failure to apply the fix in a timely way.
Equifax’s alleged breach seriously compromised millions of people whose most personal data was entrusted to them. But was it the most serious breach ever? There is a spiritual lesson to be learned.
The Bible tells us that the Creator entrusted all He created on planet earth to the first human being – Adam. In addition to that significant role, Adam was also the head or the start or the father of the human family. When God, the Creator entrusted Adam with all of this, Adam was dealing with perfection. God made everything perfect and good.
“Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good…”
Genesis 1:31 NKJV
But a serious breach occurred. According to Merriam-Webster here’s the definition of breach:
Adam, the first-father rebelled, disobeyed or sinned against God. Sin entered the human family, along with all the ramifications and effects of sin. Look at the world around you: suffering, tears, violence, greed, pride, wars, famines, violations of every kind and ultimately death.
The Bible says:
“… through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned— Romans 5:12 NASB
A serious breach – for sure! Billions affected spiritually. Sin became the one and only barrier that separated and continues to separate humans from their God.
The big story of the Bible is: God made available the only patch that could close the gap and fix the serious vulnerability in the human family. That’s why Jesus was born in Bethlehem. That’s why Jesus died on a cross. Only those who personally apply the patch will be saved from the effects of the breach and its catastrophic outcomes.
The Bible tells us that Christ appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself on the Cross. (Hebrews 9:26) He dealt with it once and once for all in 33AD. There are no other fixes or patches or sacrifices that work. His one exclusive sacrifice for sins forever (Hebrews 10:12) is the only one that satisfies God and meets His holy requirements.
It almost sounds irreverent to speak of the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross – as the only patch or fix for sin. But you will understand the connection with the story. In fact, to non-tech-savvy readers, a patch could imply a band-aid solution – of temporary value. But Christ is the one and only permanent and eternal solution for the problem of sin. Let’s make that clear!
All people before and since 33AD were and are dependant on that one ‘patch’ for sin – that one sacrifice that satisfies God. Those who fail to apply the patch, will meet with eternal disaster. Equifax was two months too late. Some people will be two days too late when it comes to applying Christ to themselves – accepting Him personally as their Saviour. Two minutes too late. Opportunities end on your last heart beat.
“As many as received Him [Christ], to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.” John 1:12 NASB
If Equifax was notified of the vulnerability, as well as the corrective patch, why didn’t they take immediate action? A court will have to decide if negligence was involved. But turn the question on yourself – spiritually. Are you aware of your vulnerability caused by sin? Have you been made aware of the availability of Christ the Saviour? Why haven’t you taken Him immediately to be your very own Saviour? Immediate action rather than eventual action is your only safe response.