Internet threat expert, David Kennerley, recently commented on the world’s second largest hack to date, the October 2016 Friend Finder ‘adult site’ hack, that “412,000,000 victims will be prime targets for blackmail”. Beyond the sheer size of this hack, one key difference is that the hackers, rather than publish all the customers of this site, as has been done in previous hacks, is holding on to large portions of this list, presumably for the potential goldmine of blackmail opportunities from the millions of people that would do most anything to risk exposure of their own hidden life. But does blackmail really matter to anyone besides the person with something to hide? It’s so important because the security of every U.S. citizen is at risk, because about 80,000 of those hacked were U.S. military accounts, and about 5,600 were U.S. government accounts. One can only imagine blackmailers having a field day blackmailing people handling highly sensitive information that affects our everyday lives, plus the millions of people in every walk of life that may also be targeted. The possible resulting confusion, carnage and chaos is not calculable.

How to Eliminate the Threat

Blackmail works because it preys on one’s weakness, fear and shame. The fastest way to defeat blackmail is to strengthen that weakness so the potential victim becomes strong and courageous, very courageous in fact; by not giving in to the blackmailer. God has a long, rich history of helping ordinary, willing people turn their weaknesses into strength, turning timidity into courage, helping people experience grace and mercy instead of shame and punishment. As a result, ordinary people willing to be open to God’s restoration experience the extraordinary by overcoming seemingly impossible situations for themselves, their families and cultures. Avenue helps people do just that; to trade their weaknesses, fear and shame over sexual brokenness in exchange for God’s grace, mercy, strength and courage in an environment that is safe and confidential. What’s seemingly impossible, then, becomes possible, with restored people changing the world around them for the better instead of for worse.