A survey by the WiFi Alliance in the US found that 32 percent of respondents admitted using a neighbor's unencrypted WiFi connection, nearly double the 18 percent who said they mooched WiFi in a 2008 poll.
Protecting your home network is very easy, the only thing you need to do is configure a password in the configuration menu of your router. The report also warns against using open WiFi connectors from neighbors, because nosy neighbors could use eavesdropping software to monitor your behaviour and capture personal data.
"The reality is that many consumers have not taken the steps to protect themselves," said Kelly Davis-Felner, marketing director at the Wi-Fi Alliance, a non-profit trade group that commissioned the surveys.
Sharing an open Wi-Fi hookup might seem neighborly. But a nosy neighbor could use eavesdropping software to monitor your online haunts. A free, easy-to-use eavesdropping tool called Firesheep has been downloaded more than 1 million times since last year.
"With Firesheep, almost anyone can effectively hack into your Facebook, Twitter and other accounts," says Randy Abrams, director of technical education at anti-virus firm ESET. "Almost anyone has the skill to use Firesheep to be a nosy neighbor."