Half admit stealing wireless connections

Half of computer users admit to using a wireless connection without permission, according to a new survey.

According to Sophos, Wi-Fi hijacking is generally a crime of opportunity with the majority of those surveyed having logged-on to a local network simply because it wasn't properly secured with encryption keys.

"My suspicion would be be that most people don't know what they're doing," sayid Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos.

"They're in a hotel lobby trying to log-on and one option asks for their room number and password and then they see another one, which doesn't and they think, hang-on. I don't think it's necessarily done maliciously, it's just easy," said Cluley.

"But their neighbours can lose out if their bandwidth is gobbled up by freeloaders downloading pirated copies of Heroes Season Two from the net all day long."

Wi-Fi freeloading is a crime the police take extremely seriously due to the anonymity it affords criminals, and perpetrators currently face a maximum fine of 1,000 and a five year sentence.

However, the crime is difficult to track and only a handful of arrests have been made.

Despite that, a recent survey by GetSafeOnline reveals that there around 7.8 million unsecured wireless connections in the UK.