For two days, hackers were reportedly able to prevent tens of thousands of missions-minded Christians from taking part in this week's historic gathering of Christian leaders from around the world.
According to organizers of the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization, up to 100,000 people were expected to participate in their gathering from 700 "GlobaLink" sites in 95 countries, but hackers were able to attack their web network, leaving Congress organizers unable to connect off-site participants for the gathering's first two days.
"We have tracked malicious attacks by millions of external hits coming from several locations," reported Joseph Vijayam, IT Chair of the Lausanne Movement, the lead organizer of the Congress. "Added to this was a virus brought into the centre on a mobile phone."
While the Lausanne Movement did provide further details on the attack itself, a well-known method used by hackers is a denial-of-service attack, in which hackers overwhelm a Web site by sending it a deluge of junk requests. Such attacks have been used to take out of service sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Google.
Fortunately for the Congress, however, two volunteers from Bangalore who were on site to help perform basic IT works were able to step in to resolve the issues after learning of the situation. One was an employee of Unisys Global Services and the other was a pastor with a doctorate in computational biology.
"I believe God in his sovereignty brought them to us," reported Vijayam.
When asked if he could confirm where the hacking came from, Vijayam said, "We have a pretty strong indication, but one can never be absolutely certain, so we prefer not to share our suspicions."
What's important for Congress organizers is that the 700 GlobaLink sites have since been able to join in the Congress – the third ever to be held since the Rev. Billy Graham called for the first in 1974.
"Finally, after two rough days, they are being served as planned," reported Victor Nakah, GlobaLink Chair for the Congress, on Wednesday.
Since last Sunday, around 4,000 carefully-selected Christian leaders from more than 200 countries have been gathering in Cape Town, South Africa, to confront the critical issues of today as they relate to the future of the Church and world evangelization.
More specifically, the gathering has been examining the world and today's culture to discern where the Church should invest its efforts and energies to most effectively respond to Christ's call to take the gospel into all the world and make disciples of all nations.
Cape Town 2010, as the Congress is also called, is being held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. It is scheduled to officially conclude on Oct. 24.