Everyone who is using the Internet is aware that it is not exactly the safest place. You may have antivirus installed or other security measures but they can only go so far to safeguard you against some potential threats like malware, spyware or ransomware.

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You may have heard of social engineering. It is a technique that cybercriminals use to get users into divulging valuable information. There are several ways in which social engineering is used to trick you both offline and online.

Have fun online but be smart and safeguard your privacy and security by following these measures.

1.  Be careful with your email

One of the most common tactics that cybercriminals use is scaremongering. It presents an urgent scenario prompting the users into immediate action. Thus, decisions are made based on poor impulse control.

When you get a phishing mail with malware attached, you don’t even have to download the attachment for it to do damage to your

network. Drive-by downloads install malware on the hard drive without your implicit agreement. It might even come disguised as a system update or other seemingly innocent yes/no question.

The moral of the story is, don’t open email from strangers.

2.  Be a password ninja

The number of people still using passwords such as 12345678 or qwerty is surprisingly high. While you may be clever enough not to use no-brainers like those, don’t also use your birthday or dog’s name.

The ideal password is one that you will remember with some difficulty but will be nearly impossible for other people or programs to guess.

A great password hack is to use an abbreviated sentence instead of random word combinations. The other option is to use a password management app to generate and store your passwords.

Malware and many types of viruses spread because you click on a link supposedly from someone you know. Yet, the link looks strange and you even wonder about it when you open. The best policy in this case is to message or call the person who’s sent you the link and find out if they did send it to you.

It is quite likely that your friend or family member has been the victim of a hacking attack.

Many of the phishing attacks happen through social networks, instant messaging software and other channels.

Remember the golden rule. If it requires you to divulge information or data that is sacred, it is probably phishy.

4.  Back up your data frequently

You may take all safety measures and yet fall prey to malware like ransomware. It is impossible to get your data back in this case unless you have backed up your data. If you have the habit of backing up data regularly then you can eliminate the threat of ransomware. If a hacker manages to encrypt your data and demands for a ransom to decrypt it, you will still have the backup.

5.  Browsing and shopping safety

Shopping sites typically ask for personal information such as name, address, contact number, billing information etc. However, if any site seems to ask for more details especially of the sensitive kind, then it is cause for concern.

When shopping or browsing online, look for an SSL certificate or basically the HTTPS in the url of the website instead of an HTTP.

Whether you are shopping, playing games or gambling online, make sure the website or app you use is essentially secure.

For instance, if you are visiting a online casino where you can play with real money, be sure to check that their website uses data encryption.

Reputed and well rated live casinos like Netbet use data encryption, random number generators. They also have a casino license and are regulated or governed by an authority.

The majority of online casinos are audited and their software is subject to regular reviews by independent auditors.

This is part of the criteria for online casinos to be considered safe and casinos will proudly display the results of these audits or make them available to the players.

Remember, a safe website whether it is gambling or gaming has nothing to hide.

When it comes to online safety, it is better to err on the side of caution. Above all, trust your instincts and use your judgment to guide you.

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