Warning over wi-fi 'piggybackers'

One in 10 admit to sneaky surfing…

One in 10 admit to sneaky surfing…

Wireless broadband users are failing to secure their connections against people who hijack wi-fi hotspots for their own means.

According to a survey by moneysupermarket.com, a large number of Brits are exposed to 'piggybacking' - where broadband users connect to someone else's wireless router to gain access to the internet - which can lead to identity theft, fraud and illegal downloading.

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Just over one in 10 (11 per cent) of people admit to using someone else's internet connection without permission in the last year, while 16 per cent have failed to password protect their wireless connection.

James Parker, commercial manager for broadband and mobiles at moneysupermarket.com, said in a statement: "This is a worrying trend and shows some people have no conscience when sitting in front of their monitor behind closed doors.

"The consequences can be severe. It's bad enough your neighbours can use your internet connection freely but this becomes far more threatening if someone uses your connection for criminal or improper activity."

Of the 11 per cent who admitted to 'piggybacking', 12 per cent said they used the connection to download films and music regularly. For those with a download limit on their broadband connection, this could result in additional charges to their subscription.

Parker added: "If people aren't careful they could unwittingly find a huge bill landing on their doorstep for going over the download cap imposed by their provider. People need to be aware just how important protection is and the best way to do it."