A US megacorps has suffered a massive cyber attack after hackers stole millions in church funds and a few million in private funds from a church member, the Church of Scientology’s chief executive said.
The hackers used an exploit called Scramble, which has been used to target church finances in the past, to steal the funds, according to Tom Bevan, executive vice president and general counsel of the Church.
The attack hit the Church’s headquarters in Clearwater, Florida, on Wednesday and the hack was reported to the church by security firm Symantec, which is known for its security expertise.
The Church of Satan is the world’s largest cult and the biggest in the US.
“This attack is a direct attack on the Church,” Mr Bevan said.
“This is what the Church needs to do.
The attacks on Scientology have been going on for some time and the Church has had some very serious problems.”
The Church of God of the Latter Day Saints said in a statement that it was “in a state of shock and deeply saddened by the news”.
“It is with a heavy heart that we must announce that we are no longer in a position to provide security services for our church,” the statement read.
“We are working to identify and resolve the security breach that has occurred.”
The breach has not affected the Church, which employs about 100 people, according the Church website.
The Church has long had a history of financial and legal problems and it had a reputation for poor management.
The church has had several bankruptcy proceedings over the past 20 years.
The most recent was in 2007.
On Thursday, the church said it had launched a comprehensive review of its finances.
The church’s board of directors has also asked the church to set aside funds for a review into its operations, Mr Bevenan said.
It is unclear how much money was taken from the church’s operations.
Mr Beavenan said it was possible that a church employee or a contractor may have been involved in the theft.
“It’s a massive amount of money,” he said.
The hack came as the church was facing a wave of negative publicity over allegations that its finances were mismanaged and its founder, David Miscavige, was being investigated by the church for sex abuse.
Mr Miscavigo was removed from the leadership position of the church after more than two decades in 2013 and his wife was granted leave to leave the country in 2018.
The couple have denied the allegations.
The company said in its statement that the church had set up a trust to manage the finances of the congregation.
It also said that it had taken a “complete shutdown” of all internal business processes to protect the trust.
“The trust will remain shut down and we will not allow the church and its assets to be used as a vehicle for the mismanagement and abuse of money by Miscavigues family,” the church added.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission is conducting a review of the attack.
The incident follows an investigation into the church last year.
In February, an audit of church finances by auditors at law firm Ernst & Young found that the Church had been able to pay some church members nearly $1 million a year in compensation.
The group, called Audit and Recovery Services, has been scrutinising church finances for more than a year.
It was also found that a key member of the leadership of the Scientology church, David Fishman, had used church funds to purchase items from a private seller for his own personal use.
He also used church money to purchase a house and travel for himself and his family to countries such as Switzerland and France.
Since then, several church members have faced criminal and civil lawsuits, including Mr Fishman.
A separate investigation by the FBI found that Miscavigate and his brother, David Fincher, had been “conspiring” with Scientology officials to get the church into bankruptcy.
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