<p> Everybody talks about cybersecurity. But quite frankly, most computer users are woefully uninformed about what it takes to make sure their systems are secure.</p> <p> Good security requires more than <a href="" target="_blank">anti-virus (AV) software</a>. It means taking action to protect yourself from cybercriminals who try to access your information when you make an online purchase or <a href="">when you do your banking</a>. It&#39;s about making sure no one can get a peek at the sensitive data you have stored on your computer.</p> <p> &quot;You still need AV, but it isn&rsquo;t enough,&quot; said Dmitry Bestuzhev, head of security company Kaspersky Lab&#39;s Global Research and Analysis Team, Latin America. &quot;There are a number of circumstances, solutions, and decisions we all have to make for better security.&quot;</p> <p> There are some very basic steps that experts such as Bestuzhev and Eugene Kaspersky, chief executive of Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab, think every computer user should know.</p>

Update and patch

<p> Everyone needs to get into the habit of <a href="">installing all updates and patches</a>, especially for applications such as Windows Media Player, Oracle&#39;s Java Runtime Engine and Adobe Flash Player, all of which have seen a number of vulnerabilities recently.</p> <p> But all updates and patches, no matter what software is involved, are there for a reason and shouldn&#39;t be ignored.</p> <p> &quot;We&#39;re seeing a lot of vulnerabilities and exploits on <a href="">printer software</a>,&quot; Bestuzhev said.</p>

Don&#39;t send personal information over public Wi-Fi

<p> Data sent over a <a href="">wireless network</a> can be easily intercepted. Bestuzhev said. If you want to access your bank while sitting at the coffee shop, you may be better off using your 3G carrier on your mobile device.</p> <p> [<a href="">How to Secure Your Home Wireless Network</a>]</p>

Install a good Internet-security software package

<p> Who wants to spend money for something that&rsquo;s free? A lot of companies offer a <a href="">free version</a> of their security software package, but in most cases it provides the barest minimum coverage.</p> <p> In the long run, it would be better to invest in a <a href="">paid package</a> that provides broader coverage. Good security software packages cost less than $100 a year.</p> <p> Kaspersky added that you should have a good security package not only for your computer, but also for your smartphones and tablets.</p>

Understand how social engineering works

<p> Social engineering is one of the top tools used by cybercriminals, and Bestuzhev believes every computer user should be familiar with how it might be used to trick him or her.</p> <p> Social engineering often <a href="">uses popular events</a> to lure users to fake sites laden with malware, or uses techniques like spearphishing and specially targeted email with malicious links. Sometimes it&#39;s just a good old-fashioned <a href="">confidence trick</a> in digital form.</p> <p> Learning how cybercriminals are trying to trick you can go a long way toward protecting yourself.</p> <p> [<a href="">10 Computer Threats You Didn&#39;t Know About</a>]</p>

Don&#39;t trust everyone online

<p> Going hand in hand with Bestuzhev&rsquo;s advice about social engineering is Eugene Kaspersky&#39;s warning not to trust everyone you meet online.</p> <p> &quot;Keep your mind switched on while dealing with people,&quot; Kaspersky said. &quot;Don&rsquo;t trust everyone in your <a href="">social media networks</a>, especially people you don&#39;t know well.&quot;</p> <p> This is especially important to remember when using a <a href="">service like Twitter</a>, where you follow someone, or someone follows you, based on shared interests rather than an actual relationship.</p>

Include a security blog in your daily reading

<p> Do you have a favorite electronic newspaper you read every day? Do you have sites you check out regularly while having your morning coffee?</p> <p> Bestuzhev thinks you should add a <a href="">security blog</a> to that routine, or sign up for an RSS subscription to a number of security blogs, in order to keep up on what&#39;s happening in the security world.</p> <p> &quot;Sometimes it is even enough to read the title,&quot; he said. &quot;My father called me about the <a href="">LinkedIn breach</a> and asked if he should change his password. He knew about it because he saw it in his RSS feed.&quot;</p> <p> [<a href="">7 Ways to Protect Your Computer&#39;s Data</a>]</p>

Create strong passwords

<p> Bestuzhev isn&#39;t the first person, and won&#39;t be the last, to suggest the need for strong passwords. But based on the recent LinkedIn and Yahoo breaches, most of us are still using pretty <a href="">weak passwords</a>.</p> <p> Analysis of the breaches showed that strings containing &quot;12345&quot; or &quot;password&quot; were very common, but so were curse words and variants on &quot;Yankees&quot; and &quot;Red Sox.&quot;</p> <p> &quot;Make sure it is a combination of capital and lower-case letters and numbers,&quot; he said.</p> <p> Bestuzhev recommended using the first letters of a line in a song, because we tend to remember song lyrics.</p> <p> [<a href="">How to Create and Remember Super-Secure Passwords</a>]</p>

Find a geek

<p> When Kaspersky was asked what his top security tip would be, he laughed but didn&rsquo;t hesitate.</p> <p> &quot;Have a good friend or find a child who is a <a href="">computer geek</a>,&quot; he said. &quot;It&#39;s a good idea to have a trusted source with whom you can discuss your IT security issues.&quot;&nbsp;</p> <p> The geeks are the ones who keep current with what&#39;s happening in the security world and can provide quick advice on whether a particular application is safe to use or what security software best fits your needs.</p> <p> At the very least, your geek friend will know how to get a <a href="">virus</a> off your computer.</p>

8 Security Basics the Experts Want You to Know