“Detach from Attachments” Is Tibetan Monks’ Digital Warning
After experiencing plenty of cyber attacks, Tibetan Monks are sending a classic Buddhist message with a modern twist: Detach from Attachments.
Tibetan monks are now encouraging people to stop using attachments in their emails and not to open any that are sent to them, after a report published by the international internet watchdog Citizen Lab revealed their findings: that many different charities, including Tibet Action, had been hacked and infiltrated by groups outside their control – many of them from China.
In this modern world, Tibetan monks are having to learn to move with the times. Instead of just giving advice on more ephemeral things, such as forgiveness and lying, they are now being called upon to give advice on more twenty-first century problems, such as computer viruses. Their latest slogan is “Detach from attachments.” This references the central Buddhist belief that only by detaching oneself from all possessions and no longer hope to own anything – but its new modern twist should, it is hoped, prevent more people from having unwanted things on their computers.
The real problem is that you can never really trust attachments, even if you know the person who has sent it to you. It is possible with new technology now for a third party to attach something to the original attachment, so by the time that it has arrived to the intended sender, it has a little more than they were expecting. Once one computer is affected, any others that share the same network can start to experience the same sort of problems, which is very problematic for charities such as Tibet Action. The last thing that they want is Chinese officials being able to spy on them from their computers.
It is hoped that a better understanding of the dangers of email attachments will prevent Tibet Action and anyone else from exposing their computer to potential harm through an email attachment.