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Approach this issue as would a teacher with a student. I use the generalized analogy of the computer as the user's house, which makes it easier for the user to grasp:

1. When the computer is connected to the network or internet, it is like like opening the front door of your house and leaving the door open. Any curious individual walking or driving by can stop and take a peek inside.

2. Practicing no safeguards (ie Antivirus, Firewall) is like announcing to anyone in earshot "Well, I'm leaving my house unattended!" Someone can walk right in and help themselves to whatever possessions (personal or financial data) they can lay hands on. If they are clever, you won't even know that you had an uninvited guest. Or, you may get the malcontent who derives pleasure from completely trashing your hard drive.

3. Practicing safeguards is like posting a doorman at the front door. No one gets in without clearance.

4. Practice viligence!

* Out-of-date AV definitions are a sleeping doorman.
* Treat unsolicited emails with the same guarded suspicion as you would unsolicited postal mail or telephone calls.
* Handle online transactions as you would in person: Read the fine print, and know and trust with whom you are dealing.

Enlighten the user to the various unfortunate evils that exist, without coming across as condescending, and impart (much of) the ownership of the issue onto the user.