Kidnapping and Ransomware
“If a man be found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel, and maketh merchandise of him, or selleth him; then that thief shall die; and thou shalt put evil away from among you”(Deuteronomy 24:7).
The abduction of 279 female students aged between 10 and 17 during a raid by armed bandits in February occurred at the Government Girls Science Secondary School, a boarding school in Jangebe (also rendered as Dengebe), in Zamfara State, Nigeria. It was Nigeria’s third school kidnapping in three months.
In March, 39 students were abducted from a forestry college in the northwestern Nigerian state of aKduna. The Islamic group Boko Haram was responsible in each case and continues targeting schools to gain publicity and weaken the state security forces.
The Changing Face of Kidnapping
While physical abduction continues in Nigeria, cyber extortion and technology-related crimes operate in other areas of the world. The significant increase in at-home workers during the global pandemic created a wide range of vulnerable targets because data security was necessarily compromised.
Colonial Pipeline in May was thought to have paid $5 million in ransom to the hackers who shut down some of its networks and disrupted oil flow in four of its major pipelines. Almost the entire Atlantic Northeast coast was forced to limit gas purchases or shut down completely for a day as a precaution. Gas prices rose accordingly. The Department of Transportation issued an emergency order allowing truckers driving fuel in affected states to extend work hours to assure supply. The hackers, identified as DarkSide, claimed that their motive was purely monetary. They are but one of a number of ransomware groups that hold organizations’ files hostage until compensated.
While not all cases of ransomware are reported publicly, experts believe that ransomware attacks are growing more frequent as hackers exploit weaknesses in government and private sectors. They have hit solar power firms, federal and local government agencies, water treatment plants and even police departments across the US. (While the pipeline attack was active, another hacker group targeted the Washington DC police department.)
“And he said, ‘What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person ” (Mark 7:20-23 ESV).
Jesus here strikes at the heart of the matter: man’s heart has been corrupted by sin. He places both violent and non-violent crimes in the same category — all are indications of the sin within. As long as sin reigns, man will continue to find ways to exploit one another.
The world today is filled with crime, chaos, and suffering because God’s laws, his standards of right and wrong, are ignored and denied. The conscience of man has been warped by a lack of sensitivity to right and wrong. Consciences over the ages have been seared by sin. Lack of a focus on the principles of righteousness inspires continued evil.
The Bible Answers
When God placed Adam in Eden, he placed a test of obedience upon him: “Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. The LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground — trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” (Genesis 2:8, 9 NIV). God gave man freedom to eat from the lifegiving trees, but forbid him to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The penalty for doing so was death (Genesis 2:17). Adam failed the test and brought condemnation on the entire race that would descend through him.
For 6000 years, humanity has been exposed to evil. Although some have tried to fight against it, none have been able to totally overcome or escape it. Men’s cruelties to one another have continued.
“For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5 NIV). The propensity for sin which Jesus identified will not last forever. His death on the cross guaranteed an opportunity for all to be raised from death to a world where good will be rewarded and evil will not be permitted (John 5:28, 29).
When man learns the ways of Jehovah, he will also learn to rejoice in the benefits of such obedience. The new day of blessing will be brought about through the establishment of his Kingdom, which is a government of righteousness foretold by all of God’s holy prophets (Acts 3:19-21).