Church of Jesus Christ announces hack affecting community members’ personal data

Oct 13, 2022, 1:51 PM | Updated: 7:53 pm
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FILE: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Office Building is pictured in Salt Lake City on July 18, 2008. (Tom Smart, Deseret News)
(Tom Smart, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Thursday that it had experienced a hack in March that affected the personal data of some Church members, staff and employees, and more. The church said it had been working with federal authorities since discovering the hack.

In a statement, the Church of Jesus Christ said the data that was compromised did not include donation history or banking information.

The church said it was told by law enforcement to not release information about the hack during authorities’ investigation and that that instruction was lifted yesterday.

The hack affected personal contact information like full names, email and mailing addresses, phone numbers and birthdates. The Church of Jesus Christ said that if you did not receive a notification email, your data was likely not affected.

According to the church’s statement, the hack was detected on March 23.

“U.S federal law enforcement authorities suspect that this intrusion was part of a pattern of state-sponsored cyberattacks aimed at organizations and governments around the world that are not intended to cause harm to individuals,” the church’s statement reads.

The statement went on to say that authorities do not believe the personal data affected has been published or misused.

The church recommended keeping your account secure by using strong passwords and frequently changing them. The church also said it was working with professionals to improve its cybersecurity.

In its statement, the church offered a list of resources for anyone wanting to get more information on the hack.

Pete Ashdown, president and founder of XMission, spoke to KSL NewsRadio Thursday about the situation.

“I wouldn’t put it past any government to not be doing cyber-attacks and cyber defense,” he said. “It’s just the way of the modern world that we have all this communication going over the internet. If a government doesn’t do that, I’d be more surprised.”

He says the use of cyber-attacks are common among the many world powers.

“Any sort of major world power is going to have this as part of their arsenal,” Ashdown said.

Ashdown says he doesn’t think the church was specifically targeted.

“The way these hacks work is that they are spreading a wide blanket to see if they can find any vulnerability to enter into,” he said.

Aimee Cobabe and Mark Jones contributed to this article.

Bonneville International Corporation, the company that owns KSL NewsRadio, is a subsidiary of Deseret Management Corporation, which is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Related: Book of Mormon digital visual art catalog launches Monday

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Church of Jesus Christ announces hack affecting community members’ personal data