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Messages - Graham

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46
Security Issues / Rootkits
« on: August 25, 2013, 07:52:50 AM »
Rootkits

Introduction & Background (from Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit readme)

Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit (MBAR) is a tool designed by Malwarebytes Corporation to detect and remove sophisticated, stealthy forms of malware called “Rootkits”. Rootkits are hidden forms of malware which most normal malware scanning tools cannot detect or remove.

Background:

Rootkits have the ability to infect the very core or ‘root’ of an operating system and hide the existence of certain processes and malicious programs from normal methods of detection. Rootkits can also enable continued privileged access to a computer to make system level modifications, leaving the system heavily compromised.

Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit (MBAR) is designed to counteract malicious attempts to subvert base core subsystems of an OS which usually make it impossible to detect rootkits using conventional methods. Besides the general functionality of allowing a user to detect and remove rootkits automatically, MBAR contains a set of tools allowing to an experienced user to perform some actions to locate unknown rootkits and remove them manually. To protect itself from being terminated by a rootkit or other malware, MBAR uses Malwarebytes Chameleon technologies which prevent modification or removal or MBAR by malware which may reside on the system.

This allows MBAR to complete the detection and removal process regardless of such attacks. MBAR uses an active internet connection to keep its database up to date to ensure that the most current definitions are used in order to detect and remove the latest 0-day rootkits.

End --


Rootkits install all sorts of payloads buried deep inside the operating system which include keyloggers, back-door access and making your computer part of a botnet.

Apart from spying on everything you do, they also steal all passwords and login data, especially to banks and commercial sites. This information is then sold on to others who specialise in stealing money via the internet.

Some of this malware can turn your video camera on and watch/record you as you go about your daily business.

Rootkits are not only the tools of choice for criminals, but commercial enterprises and governments also, because they remain hidden from view and can even be sent to sleep until such time as they are required.

There is no way that you can fully protect yourself from this malware on any computer that has access to any network or the internet, but there are steps that you can take to mitigate the problem.


There are programmes available that will create a VM (Virtual Machine or Sandbox) on your computer, from which you can safely browse the internet and even install programmes. The VM will not block malware or viruses but offers a safe environment within which you can check things out. After the session you will be asked if you want to keep anything that was downloaded or installed via the VM and if the answer is 'no', then upon closing the session everything that was opened, run, downloaded or installed will be completely wiped from your machine.

This is possible because the VM is a sandboxed temporary copy of your operating environment - nothing gets out into the real environment unless you specifically give it permission. The real environment is invisible to the malware as it can only see the VM.

Also installing good quality anti-virus and anti-malware programmes with firewall on your computer and keeping them up-to-date is very important. Do not rely on one programme for everything.

I have Zonealarm Extreme, Malwarebytes anti-malware (MBAM), Malwarebytes anti-rootkit (MBAR) and Microsoft Windows Defender. My system is scanned twice per day and all files are checked upon opening or downloading.

My system has still been infected on rare occasions by visiting booby-trapped sites or copying a file from some external media, but so far infections have never reached the point of installing themselves or doing any damage.


You can download MalwareBytes' Anti-Malware (MBAM) from here http://www.malwarebytes.org/mbam.php

You can download MalwareBytes Anti-rootkit (MBAR) from here: http://www.malwarebytes.org/products/other_tools/

You should also download the software called Chameleon which will force Malwarebytes software to run even if malware tries to prevent it - and most of the worst kinds of malware prevent all antivirus and malware removal tools from working or updating.

This software is free for personal use - professional versions are available at low cost.

Graham

47
General Discussion / Re: Krishna and Rama - did they really live?
« on: August 11, 2013, 07:34:28 AM »
Dear Jyoti,

Have you read the Srimad Bhagavatham? This was recommended by Bhagavan to devotees.

Its contents including the Uddhava Gita should leave no doubt in your mind as to the reality of Lord Krishna and Rama, because it will move your heart.

You should avoid all opinions on the internet based upon speculation - which often have ulterior motives.

Graham

48
General Discussion / Re: forum as a comforter
« on: August 04, 2013, 07:55:51 AM »
Dear Anand,

Such things are part of life and sadhana. Without questions there can be no answers.

Graham

49
Dear Hari,

God, Guru and Self are One, therefore to consider Guru as God is not wrong.

I also read, perhaps in the Bhagavatham, that God most certainly answers petty prayers, especially in the early stages, as such responses lead to stronger faith and progress.

In reality it is the 'one Self' manifest in each individual that answers the prayer by the submission of the ego in that moment of appeal, which in turn permits Grace to flow.

As the devotee matures he stops the petty requests and concentrates on the final stages of sadhana.

The entire emphasis of all worship/sadhana, primitive or mature, is the ideal of surrender and its fruits, because that alone leads to final liberation.

Graham

50
Security Issues / Re: Stealing password or something else?
« on: July 26, 2013, 09:37:03 PM »
Today I was informed by the creators of this forum software (Simple Machines) that their server had been hacked and the username/password database was stolen.

This does not affect this or any other forum using their software, unless I was careless enough to use the same username and password on both sites, which I didn't.

I did however use the same password on many other sites that require login and have just spent the last few hours changing them all to very secure password strings, especially since a lot of sites use your email address as the username instead of permitting you to select your own.

This is how the hackers gained entry to the server in this case - they had stolen login details from another site and after decrypting the passwords on that site gained access to a Simple Machines admin account.

There is a very good lesson here for us all - never use the same username/password combination for more than one site.

Graham

51
Dear Kicsi,

In my youth I turned my back on the 'Church' when I discovered that the clergy and teachers of Christianity did not even understand what they were so vehemently preaching.

There is a profound difference between faith and religion. Religion fears the acquisition of knowledge and truth, whereas faith accepts all that nurtures and strengthens it.

Religions have a place; they are the kindergarten and junior school of faith, but when they are forced down your throat they cease to be about faith and become more about power and control.

Did my faith in Christ fall away when I turned my back on the Church? The answer is no, it matured and became stronger, especially when I began to see it in the light of advaita.

Those who worship words and books think that God cannot rule His creation without 'them'.

Do not all religions say that God is the primary cause of all, that there was nothing before Him and that everything arises from the one source - therefore everything IS God.

They ignore the fact that all creation and the intelligence permeating it is God, because when you accept that, really accept it, you understand that God does not need 'you' to rule the universe on His behalf, He is quite capable of doing it - and IS doing it.

Kicsi, follow your heart that is the only advice that is worthwhile.

Graham

52
The Song of Ribhu was translated in its entirety by Dr. H. Ramamurthy (a Sanskrit and Tamil scholar) from the original sanskrit. Nome's part in it is questionable. Unfortunately Dr. H. Ramamurthy died before its publication so cannot defend his work.

I would remind everyone about the first requirement concerning this forum "The forum is not a soap box for those seeking to elevate themselves or for any of those would-be-gurus who abound today. Any guru mentioned on this forum MUST have been dead for at least 50 years."

This 'rule' is there for a very good reason.

During my fifteen years at the ashram, I heard and read many first-hand stories about these self-proclaimed 'gurus', I also witnessed first-hand the antics and manipulative conduct of these people.

Jnani's do not need mansions, million dollar income and armed bodyguards. They do not need to excuse appalling behaviour with declarations that the 'guru is beyond rules', quite simply because they live according to the highest dharma without exception.

Bhagavan was/is the perfect example of living dharma and does not need agents or mouthpieces. He moves the spirit in ways that only a real jnani can.

Now I agree wholeheartedly that there is a place for genuine teachers of advaita, but you cannot teach what you don't understand yourself and the majority of these people are mere parrots and usually very expensive parrots at that - in more ways than one.

Everyone is free to follow and worship whomever they like, but please stick to the rules of this forum.

Graham

54
General Discussion / Re: background music in arunachala-ramana.org
« on: July 14, 2013, 06:18:19 AM »
Dear incameet,

I never added music to the website, perhaps you are thinking of arunachala-live.com ?

Graham

55
Security Issues / Re: Stealing password or something else?
« on: July 12, 2013, 08:05:46 AM »
This forum uses a secure hashing algorithm plus 'salting' to convert your passwords into 'hashes' which are stored in the database in the encrypted format.

They are secure and cannot be decrypted, but only if your password was created using 'good practice'.

Read this article - http://arstechnica.com/security/2013/05/how-crackers-make-minced-meat-out-of-your-passwords/

Graham


56
Security Issues / Interesting sites and malware related information
« on: July 12, 2013, 07:19:07 AM »
Dear friends,

This is a link to an excellent site that deals with many computer-related and security issues, including how to ensure your passwords are secure.

http://arstechnica.com/security/

Malware and Rootkits

Malware is malicious computer software that interferes with normal computer functions or sends personal data about the user to unauthorized parties over the Internet. Most malware operates secretly, providing few clues to its presence and is generally not noticeable because unlike viruses it is not designed to harm your computer - it wants to stay on your system, so avoids detection. One of the major uses of malware is to recruit computers for botnets.

Rootkits are extremely dangerous and truly malevolent types of malware. They are composed of many parts and bury themselves so deep into your operating system that they become part of it and are 'almost' undetectable by normal anti-virus and malware scanning software.

These rootkits can be acquired by clicking on links in email, downloading items from unknown sites, or even just visiting the wrong web page.

Microsoft's Windows Defender scans for known rootkits on a scheduled basis, but does not scan for all of them.

There is some serious suspicion that a number of rootkits are used by governments to spy on people, read their emails, track their computer usage and even download their files.

For the past few years I have been using Malwarebytes Anti-malware, a free to use malware scanner, in addition to my regular anti-virus programme, and recently have also downloaded Malwarebytes MBar and Malwarebytes Chameleon to deal with rootkits - Chameleon is used to force Malwarebytes to launch in the event that a system is compromised and the protection programmes become disabled by the malware.

I can recommend all three as safe, but the malware 'definitions' require updating regularly, daily is best if connections permit.

Graham

57
Several years ago I created some large prints for those who like the 'Ten (Eleven) Verses to Arunachala'. Each one contains a nice photo of Arunachala with the verses.

They are approximately 60cm x 43cm with embedded colour profile and at optimum resolution for printing at your local print shop.

They are available for download from:

http://www.arunachala-ramana.org/arunachala/download/index.htm

This page contains preview images linked to the larger images for download - to download the full size image without opening it inside your browser, right-click on the link concerned and choose 'Save link as ...' from the menu. This will save the image to your hard drive.

Graham

58
General Discussion / Re: I don't understand
« on: June 25, 2013, 03:53:44 AM »
Dear friends,

For years I had been waiting for an opportunity to give these away to people who would appreciate both the beauty of the verses and Arunachala.

It is I who must thank you.

Graham

59
General Discussion / Re: I don't understand
« on: June 24, 2013, 08:05:22 PM »
Several years ago I created some large prints for those who like the 'Ten (Eleven) Verses to Arunachala'.

Each one contains a nice photo of Arunachala with the verses - you can see a sample below.

They are approximately 60cm x 43cm with embedded colour profile and at optimum resolution for printing at your local print shop.

They are available for download from:

http://www.arunachala-ramana.org/arunachala/download/index.htm (modified link with preview images)


60
General Discussion / Re: I don't understand
« on: June 24, 2013, 06:15:52 PM »
This is the ashram version from the Five Hymns To Arunachala

O Love in the shape of Arunachala! Now that by Thy Grace Thou hast claimed me, what will become of me unless Thou manifest Thyself to me, and I, yearning wistfully for Thee and harassed by the darkness of the world, am lost? (How) can the lotus blossom without the sight of the sun? Thou art the Sun of suns; Thou causest Grace to well up in abundance and pour forth as a stream!


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