Here’s how to keep safe when surfing the Net.

Dussehra is round the corner. Once again, the tradition of enactment of the Ramlila will culminate in Ravan Jalaa, when effigies of the ten-headed Ravana along with Meghnath and Kumbhkarna are burnt. This represents the triumph of good over evil.

Happy Dussehra and Safe Surfing!

Ravana

and the Internet

Speaking of Ravana’s ten heads, here are ten vile characters that, along with the naive and innocent, coexist with two billion faceless users on the World Wide Web.

1 “Vulchur”: This predatory character pretends to be your friend and tries to gain your trust. Remember not to randomly ‘add friends’ to your online profile!

2 Spammy: Sends junk email or inappropriate material that you neither want to see nor download. Steer clear of unwanted links; ignore links in emails!

3 Gaming Kumbha: Spends all his / her time gaming or surfing, utterly lost in the online realm. Internet addiction can lead to depression. Go out and play! Get a life!

4 Ogler: Follows your online activities like a real-life stalker. Careful when you post photographs of yourself or others! Remember: the Internet is a very public space.

5 Paisa Maamu: ‘Money, Money is not always sweeter than Honey’. Beware; surely you don’t believe you won that lottery? Too-good-to-be-true schemes might most likely be just that... too good to be true!

6 Hot Head: Uses rude and mean language, unnecessarily stirs up raging passions on the internet which can spin situations out of control. Don’t let it hurt you. Discuss with trusted adult / confidante.

7 Bad Ads: Third party advertisers who take your personal information for advertising.

Adjust your ‘Cookies’ settings in your browser if you do not want to be tracked and targeted by advertisers.

8 Phisher: If you are careless, money can be siphoned off from your account!

Never click on suspicious links that appear to lead to your financial transaction site, it could be a similar looking malicious site that seeks (phishes for) your account details.

Double-check that you are in a secure (https://) page at such times. Use virtual keyboards for passwords!

9 Plagiarizer: Goes about ‘copying and pasting’ information without acknowledging the actual source.

10 Kachchra: Creates trashy sites which a naive user may wrongly believe is authentic information. Train yourself to sift for authentic information, using only reputed institution sites.

Well, how about creating a fun game/activity/masks around the ten Ravana heads listed above?