Russia’s Top Religious Official Sprays Holy Water on Computers to Fend Off Ransomware Virus

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By Ian Miles Cheong | 3:30 pm, May 15, 2017
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Just as the UK’s National Health Service, corporations, and government agencies around the globe grapple with the recent ransomware virus attack that forced thousands of computers offline, Russia has come up with a novel way of dealing with the cybersecurity situation: holy water.

Today, the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church was invited to the country’s Ministry of Internal Affairs to douse the computers with holy water to protect them from incursion.

With no separation of church and state in Russia, the Orthodox Church is considered one of the country’s most important institutions with firm ties to the government. Its leader, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, holds as much power as the Pope and collaborates closely with President Vladimir Putin in matters of state, whom he once described as “a miracle of God.”

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill

This image, which went viral across Russian social media sites, was shared by @EnglishRussia1 who wrote:

“Patriarch of Russian Orthodox church making sure that the Ministry of Internal Affairs computers won’t get affected by WannaCry virus attack”

Apparently, it’s some sort of custom in Russia for Orthodox priests to bless server rooms and other bits of modern technology. Several other images of the practice surfaced in replies to the now-viral photograph.

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Warhammer 40,000 fans remarked that their efforts were akin to worship of the Machine God, while others compared it to the intro for the video game Civilization: Beyond Earth, which featured an Orthodox patriarch blessing a space ship.

No matter, it’s doubtful that sprinkling water—holy or not—will do much to stop the spread of WannaCry.

Ian Miles Cheong is a journalist and outspoken media critic. You can reach him through social media at @stillgray on Twitter and on Facebook.

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