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UK is a nation of wi-fi thieves

by on23 October 2014

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The UK is not just a nation of shopkeepers, but all a bunch of wi-fi thieves, according to a new study by fibre optic ISP Hyperoptic. The study of 2,000 British adults was an attempt to collate the sometimes poor performance of standard home broadband connections. More than 39 per cent of respondents admitted to using their neighbours’ Internet connection by “stealing” their WiFi because they have a slow connection.

The survey, which attempts to investigate the relationships between neighbours and their networks, notes that 31 per cent of respondents said they had been successful in accessing their neighbours Internet connection and this rises to 53 per cent. More than 60 per cent of Londoners said they had attempted to “borrow” their neighbour’s wifi.

Nearly a third admitted attempting access to protected WiFi networks by guessing the password, which again rises to 47 percent in London where Hyperoptic is most focused with their 1000Mbps FTTH/P/B broadband network. Most of the attempts involved using common cues such as dates of birth, pets’ names and even license plate numbers.

Dana Tobak, Managing Director of Hyperoptic, said that it was a shock to discover so many people admitting to ‘borrowing’ their neighbours’ broadband. ‘Stealing’ other people’s WiFi cannot be condoned and is highly likely to have a detrimental effect on the connection your neighbours are receiving – and paying for.

The legality of doing this is murky, especially with some hardware setup to automatically connect using open wifi networks. The UK’s Computer Misuse Act 1990 implies that it might be illegal if you guessed the password.

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