More than half (54 percent) of computer users admit to using someone else's Wi-Fi without permission, according to research.
Many internet-enabled homes fail to secure their wireless connection properly with passwords and encryption, allowing others to steal internet access rather than pay an ISP, according to IT security company Sophos, which carried out the 560-strong survey.
Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos, said borrowing Wi-Fi internet access may feel like a victimless crime but it deprives ISPs of revenue.
Furthermore, if you hop onto your next-door neighbour's wireless broadband connection to download movies and music from the internet, the chances are that you are also slowing down their internet access and impacting on their download limit, Cluley added.
Dishonestly using an electronic communications service with the intent to avoid paying is breaking the law — and it's something police are increasingly taking seriously.