A spiritual response to cyberattacks

A Christian Science perspective.

Imagine this: A cyberwarrior, armed with a computer, hacks his way into the network controlling an oil refinery. He targets the heating element and the recirculating pump. He realizes that if he can turn up the heating element and shut down the recirculating pump, the unit will overheat and explode.

Fortunately, this was a simulated episode, designed and carried out by experts seeking to better prepare for the real thing. Unfortunately, it is mild when compared to some actual cyberattacks that have already occurred. Entire cities plunged into darkness when a hacker corrupts electronic messages intended to keep the electric power grid up and running. This happened in Brazil not that long ago, and affected 3 million people. Banks electronically plundered. In one recent episode the cyberbandits made off with $10 million in just 24 hours.

These are among the attacks that succeeded. The assistant director of the FBI, in charge of the bureau’s cyber division, says there are tens of thousands of attempts daily that don’t succeed. A troop of cyber experts aims to thwart every attempt. However, there is much that the nonexpert can do, much in the way of spiritual discernment. Much in the way of exercising God-derived alertness, and God-impelled foresight and insight – and seeing that these spiritual qualities belong to every one of His sons and daughters. This benefits everyone in practical ways. People tasked with spotting and halting cyberdangers before they happen can get even better at it. They can feel a prayerful assist, even if they can’t explain where it’s coming from or what it is. They can find their endeavors to stop every cybercrime gaining in effectiveness, and edging from 99 percent toward 100 percent successful.

There are almost numberless effective ways to pray. Start with a clear sense of God, and a clear and powerful sense of prayer will almost always follow. For instance, this prayer might affirm that every child of God – including experts waging the campaign to prevent every cyberattack – has God-bestowed alertness. The inexhaustible Truth that is God never slumbers. The all-seeing Soul that is God never blinks. The endlessly aware Mind that is God never lapses, never overlooks, never misses what needs to be caught. Prayers realizing such spiritual facts about the God who is Truth and Soul and Mind benefit and bless every individual. That’s because, in truth, every individual is the exact likeness of the Divine. Every one of us includes the full complement of spiritual resources, even if we lack human expertise. To glimpse the real nature of God is to get a sighting on the real nature of ourselves.

An Old Testament episode sheds light here. The prophet Elisha had been successfully discerning when and where attacks from the Syrians were about to occur, and he was warning his king in time to evade the attackers and steer the king to safety. Then, a nighttime raid by the Syrians encircled Elisha. His servant, in near panic and feeling hopelessly outnumbered, warned his master. But Elisha had already seen something of God’s nature. He had already to a degree proved something of that nature. What was invisible to the servant was plainly discernible to the master. While the Syrians circled Elisha, the heavenly chariot – the protection of the divine presence – circled the Syrians. Elisha prayed for his servant. “Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see.” The light of Truth began to dawn. The servant saw. Could what Elisha did for his servant become a template for what the prayerfully minded can do today for those leading the charge against cyberattacks? Absolutely. Interestingly, the servant’s gaze was no longer riveted on the threat. Now it focused on the solution – on what the Bible so vividly describes as “horses and chariots of fire.” With this in view they went on to defeat the attackers without harming them.

The solution, both then and now, involves the spiritual discernment bestowed by God and employed by experts and nonexperts alike. The solution, both in Bible times and the present day, involves people with Elisha-like conviction, reaching out in prayer to God, Truth. We can petition anew, to paraphrase Elisha’s words, “Lord, I pray thee, open [his/her/my] eyes, that [we] may see.” We can affirm today that those who need to uncover whatever needs uncovering are divinely guided.

"Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" states, “Let Truth uncover and destroy error in God’s own way, and let human justice pattern the divine” (Mary Baker Eddy, p. 542). To know that Truth does this is to know why we can express these actions of Truth. The needed uncovering occurs. Evil intentions get defeated. The light of safety and security – the light of Truth – continues to dawn.

From an editorial in the Christian Science Sentinel.

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