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By: MarkJ - 28 April, 2010 (9:04 AM)
internet wi-fi padlockNew research from Garlik, an online identity specialist, has found that a third of households in the capital are at risk from cybercriminals thanks to poor or no security settings on their home wireless Wi-Fi networks. As a result of the Digital Economy Act these homes could also be under threat of ISP disconnection.

The situation means that homes are at risk of disconnection or possibly even legal action under the new Digital Economy Act 2010, which makes the connection owner responsible for any copyright infringement found to be taking place on their broadband ISP connection; not the actual offender.
* Nearly five per cent (100,000) of households had no security at all, leaving their home WiFi networks completely open to criminals.

* Almost thirty per cent had extremely weak WiFi security settings, known as WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) that can be cracked within minutes.

* Sixty five per cent of households were found to have the most secure setting for their home WiFi networks, known as WPA (WiFi Protected Access).
Tom Ilube, CEO of Garlik, said:

"Using weak WiFi security like WEP is the digital equivalent of locking your front door but with a sign saying 'the key is under the mat, help yourselves'. With the recent introduction of the Digital Economy Act people need to be aware that they could face a fine, the risk of disconnection or indeed risk falling victim to cybercrime if they do not take WiFi security seriously.

We strongly encourage people to upgrade their wireless routers from the weak WEP security setting to the much stronger WPA (ideally WPA2) settings and for those with no security settings to wise up to the potential risks they are exposing themselves to."

If a cybercriminal gains access to someone’s home WiFi, either due to the network being unsecure or a network password being cracked, then email accounts, social networking sites and even online banking can be broken in to.

Also with access to someone’s home WiFi, a cybercriminal can use the internet connection however they choose. The home owner may be completely unaware as the hacker browses obscene websites or illegally downloads copyrighted music, films or TV shows from their home network. We have a useful article that offers some help for securing your wireless network: Top 10 Wireless (Wi-Fi) Security Tips.
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