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Why exactly is important? Are there any significant reasons that information/cyber security should be taken seriously, for an average internet user? I've heard of broad explanations (like others could access your personal info), but never exactly how serious and scary it is. Why do we need to care about it?

closed as too broad by techraf, Steffen Ullrich, S.L. Barth, CodesInChaos, Tobi Nary Dec 5 '16 at 14:03

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    I consider the question as too broad. But, just look into other fields and maybe find the answer yourself. We care not only security in IT but also with use of weapons, chemicals, cars, planes, electricity... . In this cases it might be more obvious what the risk is but even in IT security some problems should be obvious: you don't want someone use your credit card, block your internet access, block access to 911, ... – Steffen Ullrich Dec 5 '16 at 12:48
  • Oh, then where should I post it? I apologize, I'm new here. – Legoboy0215 Dec 5 '16 at 12:53
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    I did not say that the question is off-topic but that it is too broad. Thus you need to be more specific, i.e. what of the "broad explanations" you've heard was not detailed enough for you, what specific part of security you ask about etc. Security is a very broad term and just asking "why we need security" is therefore similar broad. It might also be that you don't understand what IT security is and therefore you cannot understand why it is important. – Steffen Ullrich Dec 5 '16 at 13:13
  • if nothing else, computers run frustratingly slow when loaded with spyware. – dandavis Dec 5 '16 at 13:34
  • @dandavis, Or some anti-spyware. :-) – Bryan Field Dec 5 '16 at 13:45
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Why do you lock your house? Why do you not walk down dark side streets at night in a city's downtown? Why do you not start bar fights? Why practice safe sex? Because of the risk of loss.

Security is about protection. Now that most of one's life is held and transacted online, one needs to protect oneself from loss there, just as in the physical world.

You might not care about loss online (this is becoming a more common perception), but that does not diminish the importance of security online. I would point out that those I have talked to who do not care about loss online are not aware of what they could lose. Similar to the lack of knowledge of what could happen when one does not practice safe sex.

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Any real-life story about people whose identities were stolen should hit the nail. The pain is not just loss of money, it's being stopped at every airport, not getting credit, not getting a job, etc. because you are in one or more crime databases- and it's very hard to get that information cleaned out (in all countries).

From there, you can point at the most effective ways to protect yourself against that:

  • Use a password manager

  • Never repeat passwords across sites

  • Use a VPN if you're using public Wifi

  • Don't install software that gets pushed to you

  • Let your installed software update

F-Secure recently made some video ads about this. Note that stories are always more convincing than only writing/saying "You should do X"

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