One in nine broadband users breaking law
The Daily Mirror has picked up on a poll carried by moneysupermarket.com which suggests that one in nine people have 'hijacked' someone else's Wi-Fi connection (i.e. used it without permission) and that something like one in six households are running an insecure wireless network.
The law takes a dim view of borrowing someone else's Wi-Fi connection unless you have permission to do so with a few cases making it into the news. Interestingly while the article in the Mirror suggests half of those who had borrowed a connection had looked at a person's emails the original article by MoneySupermarket is less sensationalist by revealing that actually around half of those borrowing a connection use it to check their own email.
If you have a wireless router, there are several things you can do to improve security and stop others abusing your Internet connection:
- If you never use the router's wireless function, disable it in the routers web interface.
- If going away on holiday, switching off the wireless router saves electricity and removes the risk of the network being hacked.
- Any form of wireless encryption is better than none, so while WPA2 and WPA are the best protection, the older WEP encryption levels while less secure will slow down people if they are trying to hack onto your system, or they will move onto an easier target. However, WEP is inherently insecure and you should use it with caution.
- Never use an easy to guess security key such as a family name, or the address of the property. Never use such a phrase as the 'SSID' either.
- Make sure your computers all run a software firewall. This helps protect your computer if someone breaks onto the wireless network.
- Keep anti-virus software up to date.
The www.getsafeonline.org website covers online security in an easy to follow manner and as always our forums are a good place to ask questions about the areas that have you confused.