UK Wi-Fi ripe for hacking


Nearly half of UK home Wi-Fi networks are at high risk of being hacked, meaning danger for home workers and small businesses, according to new research.

A report from insurance and protection firm CPP, showed 40,000 networks across Britain could be hacked in less than five seconds and nearly 20,000 of those didn't even have a password protecting the network from outside users.

However, the company's survey showed 82 per cent of UK citizens believed their networks were safe and only one in 20 knew they had been used by unauthorised people.

"This report is a real eye-opener in highlighting how many of us have a cavalier attitude to Wi-Fi use, despite the very real dangers posed by unauthorised use," said Michael Lynch, an identity fraud expert from CPP.

"We urge all Wi-Fi users to remember that any information they volunteer through public networks can easily be visible to hackers. It's vital they remain vigilant, ensure their networks are secure and regularly monitor their credit reports and bank statements for unsolicited activity."

The research was carried out by an ethical hacker called Jason Hart, who is also a senior vice president at network security firm CRYPTOcard.

"When people think of hackers they tend to think of highly organised criminal gangs using sophisticated techniques to crack networks," he said. "However, as this experiment demonstrates, all a hacker requires is a laptop computer and widely available software to target their victims."

Hart claimed with the rise of smartphones and wireless networks, hacking had become far easier and it was a real concern, both for consumers and businesses, to keep their data safe.

"Hackers [can more easily] crack usernames and passwords, allowing them access to emails, social networks, and online banking sites and even to assume the online identity of their victim," he added.

"It's vital that both businesses and individuals think very carefully about network security and what information they provide when going online."

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.