Nearly half of students would attend university seminars on online security and keeping their data safe, according to a new survey.

While half of the students questioned by Intel Security admitted they have no security software on their devices, 48 per cent said they would go to the sessions.

More than 90 per cent also said they log on to public WiFi on their campuses and in bars and clubs whether the connection is secure or not.

But lax security practices can be costly for students, whose laptops, smartphones and tablets contain data critical to their studies and social lives.

“I didn’t have any security software installed and am always clicking on links to articles, videos and online shops that look interesting,” said former student Imogen Clerey.

“As a result, my laptop became completely infected and stopped working. The repair shop couldn’t do anything to recover the majority of files on my hard drive and I ended up losing close to two years’ worth of work! All I can say is – protect your laptop, back up your work and be careful what you click on.”

Although half of students admitted putting themselves at risk of such losses, security experts said it was encouraging that so many are willing to learn.

“The fact that students are eager to learn about data security is a step in the right direction,” said Nick Viney, vice president of consumer for Intel Security. Yet its concerning that many are still opening themselves up to risks unknowingly.

“When it comes to students’ online safety, we all have a responsibility. Not only should parents be educating their children before they fly the nest, but universities too – they should be doing all they can to ensure students understand the security policies at their university.

“There are also very simple measures that students can take to keep their work and their data safe. For example, students can make the most of special deals on security software, but make sure the links are legitimate before you click on them!

“And simple solutions, such as investing in security software like McAfee LiveSafe and not clicking on unknown email links, will help to keep work and personal data safe.”

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