Here's a couple of stats to make the old peepers water: because of hardware failure and malware, two out of every three PC users have lost important data from their computers; but a quarter of us never back up. At all.

And this despite the fact that 68 percent of PC users regard their data as very important. Even those of us who do back up regularly are often guilty of 'safely' storing data on optical discs, right next to our PCs. Which isn't much cop in the event of a fire or a physical theft.

According to online-backup firm Carbonite's recent survey of more than 1,600 PC users, the biggest bar to securing files is that people 'don't know how'. (This answer is closely followed by 'can't be bothered' and 'too complicated', which may be closer to the truth). Never shy of conforming to stereotype, the biggest backup slackers are... naturally... the hooded youth (16- to 24-year-olds).

Like, whatever.

What's going on? Here's a theory: higher broadband speeds and cheaper hardware prices mean that increasing numbers of us are living and storing our lives online. But because technology these days is largely user-friendly, 'backup' and 'encryption' remain fairly meaningless words - until we experience loss and it's too late.

It's human nature. The safer cars get, the more daft drivers become. And if you've never seen a bad case of childhood measles, the case for putting your child through a painful vaccination is less compelling.

More to the point, if people feel so secure they 'can't be bothered' to back up, it doesn't say much for their attitude to internet security in general. And that may explain why the best efforts of the security industry have failed to find a silver bullet for malware. We all have a collective responsibility to maintain vigilence on the web. And if people 'can't be bothered' to help themselves, it could just be that the criminals want it more.

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