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Today church security is about more than locking doors and background-checking workers. You also have to guard your website's domain name.

Hope Community in Dover, New Hampshire, learned this lesson the hard way. In late 2006, the church switched Internet service providers, and intended to keep its decidedly religious website name. However, due to an error by the ISP, the church's domain name was placed for sale and purchased by a pornographic website.

The mix-up came to light after pastor Steve Spearing got a phone call from a woman researching local churches online. He was particularly upset because the church had recently distributed fliers with the domain name on them at a community event.

The ISP, which admitted its mistake, said that pornography sites often seek out domain names that have been used by churches and religious organizations to cause embarrassment.

Pastors or administrators should get in the habit of regularly doing an Internet search of the church name in order to make ...

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