Georgene Rice interviews Ron Rhodes, from Reasoning from the Scriptures Ministries. He is the author of “Cyber Meltdown, Bible Prophecy and the Imminent Threat of Cyber Terrorism”. Cyber crime has victimized 73% of the population, more than 140 nations possess cyber warfare capabilities and 13.9 million computer attacks are launched every day. Rhodes shares the likely role that this will all play in God’s ultimate plan and Biblical prophecy.
Georgene: First, tell us what is cyber space and why should we who are followers of Christ in the 21st century even care about it.
Ron: People think of cyber space as the internet, but it is much more than just that. It also includes private company networks, water and electrical utilities, the stock market and all the banks. Everything is now controlled by computers, and that’s what we call cyber space. You should care because, for example, through cyberspace your bank accounts and money can be accessed, pipelines can be caused to explode, or nuclear reactors can be affected.
Georgene: What would a cyber attack look like?
Ron: A cyber attack is an attack launched by one computer against other computers and/or networks. The number of security attempts launched against the U.S. is 1.8 billion a month. The amount of data stolen from U.S. networks amounts to ten times that which is stored in the U.S. Library of Congress. That means a lot of our private data, including that of the Pentagon and Dept. of Defense, has been stolen, meaning many of our enemies have that information. Terrorists can launch an attack, wherever they are, from their own private computers.
Georgene: Is it true that the U.S. is more vulnerable to cyber attacks than virtually any other country in the world?
Ron: I think it is because we have more things that run by computer than other countries. Our systems are so interconnected by computers, terrorists can cause electrical generators to fail or trains to derail, high-transmission power lines to burn, or airplanes to crash. That may sound sensationalistic, but it’s not. Those are the very reports that are being given to our Congress. Our government is spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year building cyber command centers to protect us from those very sorts of attacks.
Georgene: Explain what you refer to as Cyber Jihad in your book?
Ron: Many of the terrorist countries have oil income and can afford to hire a whole army of computer hackers who have the expertise to launch computer viruses and cyber attacks. It is so much more economical than other forms of terrorism. In fact, there are Muslim terrorists who are talking about cyber space as the ideal terrain for carrying out Jihad against the enemies of Islam.
Georgene: There is also a concern about personal privacy becoming a thing of the past because of cyber technologies.
Ron: Biometrics, a new technology, can be used to scan huge crowds of people. Without even knowing it, your face is being scanned. In major cities, people are being photographed by cameras 50 or 60 times a day. In England, people are being caught on camera on an average of 3,000 times each week. Even on your own computer you are losing privacy. When you click on an advertisement, a picture, or click on a link from an email, a secret computer program downloads to your own computer and logs every one of your keyboard strokes, including when you sign on to your bank or credit card company. That means you have lost your identity and someone else has access to your banking data.
With GPS technology you can buy tools online that you can attach to someone’s car or briefcase and determine wherever they are at any point in time. There are radios or wristwatches or other items you can purchase and give as a gift to someone and they won’t know it contains this type of device built into it.
If you are now beginning to become paranoid, then you are taking the first steps to cyber wisdom.
Georgene: People think having anti-virus software will protect what you are describing from happening to us.
Ron: Experts say that only about 30% of the viruses get caught by the anti-virus software. Every day 39,000 viruses enter cyber space. These companies don’t have the manpower to come up with virus definitions for all of those. Even if they discover one of these, it will take them one or two weeks to come up with a solution and download it to your software. We should use the anti-virus software, but I’m just saying there are many more bad guys out there than good guys.
Georgene: Let’s talk about how this relates to Biblical prophecy, what the scriptures says the end-times will be like.
Ron: Revelations 13 ells us that the Anti-Christ will control the economy in end times, determining who can sell and buy. To do that, we’ll have to have a cashless society. That is where we are headed right now. Experts are saying that within five years, if we choose to use cash we’ll be charged a surcharge.
Georgene: For those of us who are followers of Christ, is there an upside to all of this?
Ron: What we’ve talked about so far is kind of scary, but we don’t have to be frightened. Bible prophecy teaches us that God is in control for the human race. Prophecy tells us to trust in Christ because he’ll watch over us. Prophecy urges us to become pure and righteous in our living. All the prophecies we see fulfilled should spur us on to live faithfully for God because the rapture could happen at any time.
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