back to article UK arm of international charity the Salvation Army hit by ransomware attack

Criminals infected the Salvation Army in the UK with ransomware and siphoned the organisation's data, The Register has learned. A Salvation Army spokesperson confirmed the evangelical Christian church and charity was compromised, and said it alerted regulators in the UK. She told us: “We are investigating an IT incident …

  1. chivo243 Silver badge
    WTF?

    dirty pool, dude

    Really, the Salvation Army? does my head in, really!

    1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

      Re: dirty pool, dude

      Yeah – they should have at least gone for the JWs, or probably the Cult of Scientology (at least they have money).

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: dirty pool, dude

        Maybe they have and neither have noticed/admitting ?

        But, still, Sally Army... that's just low.

        1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

          Re: dirty pool, dude

          Not sure you're aware what the Sally Army does. Could be worse, but... Hungry or homeless non-Christian? Just say a Jesus prayer out loud and they'll give you food and a bed for the night. Gay? Better not mention it.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: dirty pool, dude

            What a bizarre comment.

            They don't care what religious beliefs you have or sexual orientation - no-one who is in need of help would normally be turned away unless there is a genuine lack of resource. For example, you can sleep 100 people in a hostel built for 50. The same applies for things like food parcels. You can only hand out what is available.

            There frequently is a reluctance to hand out cash though - but unfortunately people will insist on using it for what they want, rather than need.

            1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

              Re: dirty pool, dude

              "They don't care what religious beliefs you have or sexual orientation - no-one who is in need of help would normally be turned away"

              That simply isn't true. Hence the criticism the Sally Army has faced ever since its inception. The SA claims no-one is turned away, but won't answer questions about how many people choose to leave empty-handed and without a bed to sleep in rather than comply with the conditions placed on their charity. Telling someone you'll only help them if they 'repent' or 'accept Jesus as their saviour' is pretty much the same as turning them away in many cases.

              Charity with conditions attached isn't true charity, it's exploiting people who need charity. The SA freely admits that they aren't strictly charitable, they're proselytic.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: dirty pool, dude

                If you believe that to be the case, maybe you should go and visit the many SA centres in the UK which really, really don't do that.

                Maybe you could volunteer, so you can experience that help in action. Many centres are desperate for help. And in fact, many Salvation Army church buildings are stretched for space at the moment, as areas normally devoted for worship and community programmes (like toddler groups, cooking lessons, employment workshops) have been taken over to store food and other necessary shopping to help people in the community.

                The Salvation Army is a church, first and foremost, with the hope is that the friendship and charity will lead them to faith. But it will not be forced on them.

                1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

                  Re: dirty pool, dude

                  "The Salvation Army is a church, first and foremost, with the hope is that the friendship and charity will lead them to faith. But it will not be forced on them."

                  It's nice for you in your fluffy version of reality, is it? Try putting your head out into the real world. I'm well aware that most Sally Army people aren't like that. But it's equally indisputable that SA has been accused for almost its entire history of frequently refusing aid to those who won't (say they will) accept the faith. There is ample evidence of it happening repeatedly, over long periods of time.

                  The Sally Army doesn't see anything wrong with what they do. But you are _required_ to listen to proselytism to get any assistance from them. You can claim that isn't 'forcing it on' people, but really, we both know it is.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: dirty pool, dude

                    Alternatively you could do as suggested and go and visit some of the centres rather than going on about criticisms you heard over time. We are talking about now.

                    It's possible that some of the people commenting possibly have a lot more experience of the real world and the Salvation Army in the UK now than you.

                    1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

                      Re: dirty pool, dude

                      I've given a bed to people turned away by the Sally Army, so GFY.

                      1. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Re: dirty pool, dude

                        That's a nice response.

                        The question is why they were turned away? Generally, the only way they would get turned away would be lack of space/resource, or if they are being abusive, or under the influence of chemical substance. And even then, the norm would be to try and be as helpful as possible. They wouldn't be turned away on religious or sexual orientation.

                        The flip side of that is you're assuming we know nothing. I'll try to remember that while I stay at home with my kid, while my wife heads to my almost local SA centre, to volunteer as a cook to help feed the community, which is in part of the poorer areas of that city.

                        1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

                          Re: dirty pool, dude

                          "The question is why they were turned away?"

                          Oh, fuck off. The reasons they were turned away were because they didn't accept Jesus and sing a Jesus song.

                          Perhaps your wife could redirect her volunteering efforts to a group that doesn't pervert them?

            2. Snake Silver badge

              Re: dirty pool, dude

              The Salvation Army (here in America, its founding location) doesn't need to turn away gays that they don't like. The SA does a fine enough job spending on lobbyists on anti-gay agendas to be effective without going through that discomfort...to themselves.

              https://www.forbes.com/sites/dawnstaceyennis/2020/11/27/the-salvation-army-wants-you-to-believe-theyve-changed/

              et al. A Google / DDG search will reveal a trove of details

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: dirty pool, dude

                Not quite sure when London moved to the USA?

                1. Snake Silver badge

                  Re: dirty pool, dude

                  The initial reply was in regards to the SA as an entity, your reply redirected the topic to UK only. The SA has more than enough history in America of anti-LGBTQ actions to justify the original post.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: dirty pool, dude

                    Nope - responding to your statement that the SA was founded in America.

                    1. Jamesit

                      Re: dirty pool, dude

                      The Sally Army was founded 2 July 1865 in London.

                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Salvation_Army

                      1. Snake Silver badge

                        Re: founded in America

                        You are, of course, 100% correct. Thank you for posting.

                    2. Claverhouse Silver badge

                      Re: dirty pool, dude

                      Americans apparently believe the YMCA was founded in America.

                      As they assume most inventions/discoveries such as electricity, radio, telephony, cars etc. etc. were their's. I've even read on an internet webpage that the native Indians taught the European invaders how to wear shoes.

                      As a great sociologist, George Gorer observed on this Yankee misconception after the second world war: Suppressio veri, suggestio falsi..

                  2. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

                    Re: dirty pool, dude

                    "America, its founding location", err, no.

          2. HarryBl

            Re: dirty pool, dude

            You might be confusing the American version of Sally's Army with the real thing that was invented in the UK...

            1. khjohansen

              Re: dirty pool, dude

              ...Same thing : https://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/history-of-the-salvation-army/

        2. Diogenes8080

          Re: dirty pool, dude

          The lowest I heard of were a pack of data thieves who went after a Florida hospice, deliberately looking for the personal details of the recently deceased. That gave them the widest window for identify theft, with the bonus that the crime might never be discovered by the executors.

    2. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

      Re: dirty pool, dude

      Maybe they'll unlock it if the Sally Army all say a prayer to Satan/Cthulu/IFSM...

  2. Aladdin Sane Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Tough one

    On one hand, ransomware is used by scumbags. On the other hand, Salvation work to combat modern slavery but take advantage of the Workfare scheme in the UK, have ongoing discriminatory attitudes towards the LGBTQ+ community in the USA and have child sex abuse investigations ongoing in Australia.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tough one

      While I agree with you - the Salvation Army do a lot of good beyond what people think.

      They are the largest provider of social care outside of government both providing accommodation, but also things like helping hands schemes to assist people who can't get out to do shopping etc, work on modern slavery, provide a (free) person tracing service and so on. Many of the activities are made more complicated as government rules make a lot of the work more difficult.

      As an organisation they have an inclusive policy, but as with many churches and religious bodies round the world, they are struggling to work out the issues round diversity, but it is something that is constantly being discussed within the organisation including the advisory groups away from the main leadership teams.

      The other thing most people don't realise is that the Salvation Army's beliefs while being Biblically based, are also set down as an act of Parliament. In addition the act also controls aspects of how the organisation is structured.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Tough one

        >churches and religious bodies .... are struggling to work out the issues round diversity

        And D-Day was multiple officer-involved-shootings at an ANTIFA protest

        1. Potemkine! Silver badge

          Re: Tough one

          I might disagree with your comment (or not, question is still open), but I like the way you phrased it ^^

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tough one

      Even if you are correct, then how does a ransomware attack help!?

    3. Danny 2 Silver badge

      Re: Tough one

      I loathe them. Where I live six churches and the Sally Ann provide an evening meal to the homeless. The SA are the only one to charge for the food, and the only one to evangelise. And boy, do they hate the gays.

      There'll be pie in the sky when you die

  3. logicalextreme Silver badge

    I'm surprised

    You'd have thought somebody there would've been banging the drum about security

    1. You aint sin me, roit Silver badge

      Re: I'm surprised

      Should have installed the latest version of the Shield of Faith...

      1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

        Re: I'm surprised

        Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the trainers that come from the Sports Direct of Wrexham. In addition to all this, take up the leggings of genital discomfort, in which you can perform the yoga of the municipal leisure centre. Take the baseball cap of misguided fashion sense and the iPhone of personal distraction, which is the word of Jobs.*

        *Different translations vary on the exact wording of these points.

        1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

          Re: I'm surprised

          (At least one fundamentalist* can't deal with slight teasing of their deity.)

          (*either Christian or Jobsian)

          1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

            Re: I'm surprised

            (Seriously though, if he/she's omnipotent, your apparent need to defend him/her with [gasp!] downvotes suggests a notable level of insecurity.)

            1. logicalextreme Silver badge

              Re: I'm surprised

              Downvotes were put there by the devil to test us.

            2. MisterHappy
              Joke

              Re: I'm surprised

              Ahh there's the rub, if #deity is omnipotent then there is a need to defend them.

              If they are omniscient then they will already know about it.

        2. Magani
          Coat

          Re: I'm surprised

          @Hubert Cumberdale

          From those comments, I know that you write the closing comments on ISIHAC, and I claim my £5.

        3. macjules Silver badge

          Re: I'm surprised

          Is that you John McAfee? Nice fake suicide BTW.

  4. 502 bad gateway
    Paris Hilton

    Holy guacamole

    Do members of the later day IT scourge have to wear special under garments... underpants of the scourge

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BibleSEC

    You’d have thought with all their systems being hosted on Temple OS they would be safe, security by obscurity, but apparently not so

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: BibleSEC

      Does it have daemons too?

  6. Potemkine! Silver badge
    FAIL

    In 2018, the Salvation Army in the UK told Charity Digital it had replaced its PC-based network with a Citrix Virtual Desktops system, allowing workers to connect to its IT system securely from a range of devices, including Dell Qyse thin-client terminals set up for home working.

    Oh, that's secure, so everything is OK then, no worries.

    1. batfink Silver badge

      Well I can understand that with (proper) charities, it's going to be a toss-up between spending money on IT services and doing the charity work.

      Maybe some retired Commentards could go and run their IT for free?

      1. Blank Reg Silver badge

        That's likely a problem for many charities. If they pay enough to get good people then they are seen as wasting money. On the other hand paying below the going rate gets you the dregs that couldn't make it in the real world

  7. Bryan Hall

    Backups

    I'd hope they have a good server backup strategy in case it turns into ransomware.

    They should have the very important eternal backup plan covered.

  8. Winkypop Silver badge
    Trollface

    The good news…

    At least their tax records were unaffected….

  9. Secondrule

    Another organisation not interested in the cyber security insurance policy of properly protecting that which is important to them.

    ZZZZZzzzz

    Sympathy? Between shit and syphilis in the OED, if anyone cares.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Or are like every company who do care, but still get attacked anyway.

      We all know that even the most secure systems can be compromised - either by someone clicking a wrong button somewhere, software compromises, buffer overflows etc.

      Without knowing how the attack was achieved, or what systems were compromised, you can't say if they had suitable protection in place.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh well

    Couldn't have happened to a nicer bunch of homophobes and misogynists

  11. IGotOut Silver badge

    Targeted?

    Or just like 99.999% of cases, someone clicked on a dodgy link / attachment and then it was game over

  12. Danny 2 Silver badge

    Charging the homeless for a meal and a lecture

    I was registered as homeless with the City of Edinburgh council for five years 2007 to 2013, actually homeless for far longer but on the move so unable to register. I was mostly always comfortable outdoors and never had to ask for a free meal due to local friends and family and pre-existing eco-scavenging* / food growing skills. A lot of the homeless I encountered weren't so blessed and relied on a free meal every evening.

    There were six local churches that would provide a free meal one night a week, and the other night was the Salvation Army, and the same homeless group of about 200 would congregate at each of them. Most of what I'm about to say is second hand anecdote from multiple sources, but one thing that is documented is that the Salvation Army meal was the only the only one that wasn't free. They charged hungry rough sleepers for food, which is pretty hypocritical if you've read the new testament. They didn't charge much, £1.50 to £2 but if you have no money, no income, no benefits, that is a huge expense.

    I never attended but I was told they were the only evangelists and provided the worst meal. Most rough sleepers chose to go hungry on their night rather than sit through their wholly unsympathetic diatribes.

    They demonstrated homophobia. There was an odd, sweet couple among the rough sleepers. A Nigerian man and a Polish man, both very tall and muscular, one very black and one very white, always together. They stopped going to the Salvation Army night because whenever they attended the lecture would be old testament condemnations of homosexuality with the preacher looking directly at them.

    Other religious centres - yer Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims, started up kitchens that would feed them for free, some of them paying for that by charging everyone else for the same food. More recently a secular charity, Social Bite, opened a cafe staffed with homeless folk feeding homeless for free and over-charging everyone else. Plus you get to eat with George Clooney or Brad Pitt once in a while.

    (Joke) The rough-sleepers today don't know how good they've got it, back in my day we were grateful to eat grit.

    I was put on DWP work experience, despite having 30 years actual work experience. The DWP asked me if there was anywhere I wouldn't work, and I said an abattoir or the Salvation Army. I immediately offered to clean hospitals but was told it had to be somewhere "for the public good and the NHS doesn't count". Presumably there wasn't an abattoir available because they ordered me to work for the Salvation Army. I refused and so my benefits were stopped and I was reclassified as voluntary homeless, unable to apply for council accommodation.

    *Skipping is what poor people always did and eco-warriors started doing twenty years ago. It's going into skips behind stores to retrieve the food waste they throw out. There is a whole etiquette, like never take more than you need, never waste other people's food waste. Technically, legally, theft but difficult to prosecute. It's become much more difficult in recent years for various reasons - more poor people doing it, supermarkets pouring bleach over their out of date food to poison it, lower amounts of food waste.

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