A survey commissioned by TalkTalk has found that 5% of wireless networks are open, without any security to restrict its use to authorised users. The survey was conducted on 11 October found 41% of a total of over 1,000 wireless networks were 'vulnerable to unauthorised use', mostly due to use of deprecated (obsolete) WEP encryption rather than the stronger WPA or WPA2 type. TalkTalk suggest that on this basis, over 7 million wireless networks could be vulnerable across the UK.
It also warned that 56% used WPA, which it suggested could become "hackable soon" due to a vulnerability which has been detected. In particular, only 3% of users used the WPA2 level of encryption which is recommended.
TalkTalk have carried out this research to illustrate the problems of government proposals on disconnecting those found to be downloading music without a legal right to do so, suggesting that it was possible for those looking to download unlawful content could just use others' connections, landing them in trouble instead. The company has launched a 'Don't Disconnect Us' campaign attacking the government's policy.
- It by-passes the courts and gives rightsholders quasi-judicial powers
- It exposes millions of people to false prosecution since it is based on an approach where those suspected of illegal filesharing will be presumed guilty and have to prove their innocence in order to avoid being falsely disconnected
- It will do little to tackle illegal filesharing since the main offenders will easily avoid detection by using other people's broadband connections to download content or encrypting their activity. Indeed the proposed measures will increase Wi-Fi and PC hijacking and so increase even further the chances of innocent customers being wrongly cut off.TalkTalk's three principle objections to the government plans to disconnect unlawful file sharers