FATHERS! Is your wi-fi, your network, secure? BISHOPS! Read this and ponder!

Related to the news about Bp. Finn which I posted HERE, there is a story which ought to get the attention of, and scare to bits, every priest and bishop out there in the wide, hostile world.

First, the good news, HERE:

No child porn found on computers seized from Independence Catholic church

INDEPENDENCE, Mo – Computers seized from a Catholic church in Independence contained no child pornography, according to the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.
In March, several computers were taken from St. Ann Parish after it was discovered somebody had used the church’s unprotected IP address.
“The parish had been using an unsecure, non-password protected wireless signal, so the files could have been downloaded either at the parish office or by someone within range of their wifi signal,” the Diocese said in a statement.
The Diocese says investigators are returning the computers taken from the church.


Men, secure that WI-FI! Secure your network!

Be sure your security on your wireless internet is functioning and effective. You might ask around the parish to see if there is some computer guy or gal who understands security and have your set up assessed.

Imagine: Some scumball loon connects to your unsecured wi-fi, cruises nasty sites, and then blows the whistle on you. On you. Some creepy sicko get’s into your network, puts bad things on one of your computers, and blows the whistle on you. On you.

Be careful out there. Things are going to get hot and you better make sure you are ready on all fronts.

Semper parati!

Bishops! Perhaps you might send a copy of this story to all the pastors of your diocese.


PS: Check out the great Demotivators stuff!  Funny!



About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. eiggam says:

    It’s not too hard to set up a password on the system. The password should be changed often if lots of people at the parish use the wi fi. It’s the same as the ongoing problem when too many people have keys to the church.

  2. Phil_NL says:

    When you have an above-average risk of people trying to frame you (and that happens when your organisation is known for paying out damages left and right), just make sure you’re wired. Doesn’t rule out people breaking in to your system, but it does make it more annoying as they can’t insert themselves in your own network. Also makes it a LOT easier to keep tabs on who’s using the system. Wireless is way overrated anyway.

  3. nykash says:

    Phil_NL is right to a certain extent – wired connectivity is preferable in certain situations. As long as you control the physical security, the network is safe. Now if you wanted to be paranoid, you could lock down access even further. That being said, wireless can certainly be secure if people take the time to figure out how to configure the settings.

  4. Sometimes I’ll check the I.P. stats of my little blog and note this or that (Arch)diocese is visiting, mostly late on Saturday or Sunday nights. I was amazed to see the name of one I.P. read: “Iamthebishopof_____” which included the name of the diocese. I hope he has a protected system. Yikes!

  5. JaneC says:

    I occasionally wish that our parish had wi-fi, but then I remember that this is why they don’t, and I am glad that they are so prudent.

  6. Nathan says:

    And, of course, this is reason 1,345,528 why pastors and principals shouldn’t allow smart phones/iphones in your schools, especially with junior high and high schoolers (and their lawyer parents)…….

    In Christ,

  7. APX says:

    I think it’s unrealistic to ban things like smartphones and iPhones. Everyone seems to have one. What are you going to do? Set security at each entrance like they do at the court houses? I think some organizations just need to adapt to the circumstances and need for increased security.

  8. Magash says:

    No reason a church can’t run wireless or even open wireless, provided you have someone who knows what he’s doing. At my parish we are blessed to have a top gun in computer security whose day job is securing networks for the DOD. We have a guest network which is not only open, but is isolated from our working network. It is also filtered so that little Johnny isn’t going to be using his phone, ipad or laptop to surf p0rn sites from the Church’s network.
    If you aren’t as blessed as we are then it certainly makes sense to include in the budget money for an IT expert or contractor to keep your parish network secure. Remember the rectory network is just as important as the network in the Church’s office, especially if Father has a separate personal email account and independent access. And especially if he’s running a separate wifi network. In some ways it’s even more important that outsiders cannot easily get on that. That account has an even higher likelihood of being a target for mischief makers.

  9. Mary Jane says:

    As long as the wireless network is properly secured having wireless on parish grounds shouldn’t be a problem. It’s not hard to secure a wireless network….I bet most priests/secretaries could ask around the parish and there’s probably an IT guru who would be more than happy to help get it done.

  10. Mary Jane says:

    Phil_NL, I’m not a network administrator, but knowing what I know (from the IT work I’ve done in the past) it would seem like a wired network could be just as vulnerable as a wireless one (unless it’s set up right). All it could take is someone bringing in an ethernet cable, plugging it into their laptop and into a free jack somewhere in the building, and they’re on. I saw this happen once at a university I used to work at. The network admin alerted me to what building and floor the person was on and I went and found the person and told them hey, no-no, unplug.

    Basically I think the important thing is, whatever sort of network the parish has, to make sure it’s secure.

  11. Nathan says:

    APX, sadly you’re probably right, but I really worry for my teenage boys. We prohibit them from owning smart phones/iphones, but I know that, at a Catholic high schools, the students share internet access from those phones. It’s easier in junior high, especially since there’s not nearly so much directly unsupervised time. I suspect there’s a lot of pornography being accessed on these phones, since they can operate outside of the wireless servers.

    What should we, as parents do, to protect our children?

    In Christ,

  12. sciencemom says:

    Wow! Not even setting a password! As a nerd, I am amazed. It’s pretty trivial to set up a wireless router to use WPA2 encryption (a lot of folks still use WEP but that is dead easy to crack). Wired is even better, if you make sure that the jacks are only available within the physically-secured office area.

  13. Phil_NL says:

    Mary Jane

    The point is, of course, that the perps then need a physical presence in the rectory. Now maybe the typical American parish is a bit differently, but the parish offices and rectories I’ve seen all have one or two elderly ladies who are quite reluctant to let anyone in who isn’t supposed to be there, and never more than 5 or 6 people running around there in total. That can make physical access quite cumbersome.

    Now if you have a big parish centre, where everyone and their dog walks in and out, and provide computers for visitors/parishoners to use, sure, a cable would be all that’s needed. But there’s no reason whatsoever why the parish should provide PC access to anyone at all except the priest(s) and a few selected volunteers involved in administration.

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