WEB ATTACK

Catalyst September Issue 2009, Front Page

A few years back, someone managed to hack into the Catholic League’s website and disable it. We contacted the FBI and they arrested a young Muslim man. On August 5, we got hit again, only this time it was much worse. This time the guilty party staged an attack on our web host, Catholic Online, a company based in California.

It’s called a “denial of service” attack. This assault affected hundreds of other websites that share the same web server hosted by Catholic Online. What happens is that hackers find a way to send an enormous amount of junk requests, literally overpowering the system. The attack continued the next day until Catholic Online found a way to correct the condition. In the end, the Catholic League had to purchase its own server. But we are staying with Catholic Online—we are very happy with their work.

Catholic Online was able to check its web server access logs and determined that the Catholic League was the target of the attack. We filed a report with the FBI. We may never know who pulled this caper off.

We’re thick-skinned at the Catholic League, so we just shrugged it off. Over the years, we have had to deal with death threats, vicious lies and accusations, hate mail, obscene phone calls, etc. It comes with the territory. The only way to avoid these kinds of things is to be passive, and that’s not exactly our style.

If we weren’t doing our job, we wouldn’t be targeted. So it’s really a backhanded compliment.


Written by Bill