Over 3.5 million people have ‘piggybacked' on wireless internet in the past 12 months.
According to research by moneysupermarket.com, 11 per cent of those surveyed have used someone else's internet connection without permission with people often doing little to protect themselves. Of those surveyed, one in six failed to put a password on their connection and 12 per cent hijack someone else's wireless connection every day.
James Parker, commercial manager for broadband and mobiles at moneysupermarket.com, said: ‘One in nine people using another person's Wi-Fi is a staggering amount, you wouldn't expect that many people to go into a neighbour's house and use their shower. This is a worrying trend and shows some people have no conscience when sitting in front of their monitor behind closed doors.
‘The consequences can be severe. It's bad enough your neighbours can use your Internet connection freely, but this becomes far more threatening if someone uses your connection for criminal or improper activity. This could be accessing your Internet connection to download obscene material, gathering personal information to defraud you or even stealing your identity.
‘If people aren't careful, they could unwittingly find a huge bill landing on their doorstep for going over the download cap imposed by their provider. More and more providers offer routers with broadband packages and the range of the signal is increasing. People need to be aware just how important protection is and the best way to do it. People are learning to be safe online but those using wireless can undo all that by leaving their network unprotected. An unsecured Internet connection is just the same as leaving your front door open.'