Many Neighbours Would Snoop Wi-Fi

Everyone worries about hackers. But can your neighbours be trusted?  Not if the results of a 2Wire poll are to be believed. The poll asked Wi-Fi users if, given the opportunity to log on to a neighbour’s wireless network, almost half said yes, they would in fact log on and snoop around.

The poll was conducted by San Jose, Calif.- based 2Wire Inc., a maker of wireless gateways for home users, which interviewed 200 consumers as part of a study into home networking trends. The company found that if security measures aren’t in place, 44 per cent of neighbours might be tempted to access a wireless network, should the opportunity arise.

The poll showed that 21 per cent of Wi-Fi users can see their neighbours’ wireless LANs, and one in 25 even admitted to having accidentally logged on to a neighbour’s network… Most could only see device names, but some were able to freely surf the Web or view their neighbours’ files.

“Most wireless access devices have built-in security features such as encryption and password protection,” 2Wire’s director of product management Jaime Fink said.

“However, users don’t always activate these features or know where to find them. As this survey shows, it’s not enough to rely on neighbourly spirit to avoid a security breach, whether accidental or deliberate. The responsibility lies with manufacturers and service providers to provide guidance and ensure users are properly protected.”

2Wire’s poll also revealed that concerns about security were the top reason users with a wired home network did not switch to a wireless network, despite the fact that effective security is easily available.

2Wire’s Wi-Fi poll was conducted in October 2003.


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