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February 18, 2022

Are you mooching off your neighbour’s Wi-Fi

According to a recent survey, 32 percent of Americans admit to surfing on their neighbour’s open Wi-Fi networks.

That’s up from 18 percent in 2008, reports USA Today, and there's no reason to think that the Canadian numbers are that much different.

Wifi According to experts, that's a practice that puts you and your sensitive information at risk.

"The reality is that many consumers have not taken the steps to protect themselves," says Kelly Davis-Felner, marketing director at the Wi-Fi Alliance, the non-profit trade group that commissioned the survey.

Public hotspots like airports and Starbucks are an easy way for hackers to swipe account logons and payment card numbers, she warns. And they seem to be busy.

To that end, an easy-to-use eavesdropping tool called Firesheep has apparently been downloaded more than 1 million times since last year.

Reliability is another reason to pay for your own access. If you’re a heavy user or need the Internet to work from home, relying on a connection that your neighbour could shut off at any moment is probably not a good idea.

Looking to fight back? Here's how to protect yourself from Firesheep attacks.

It's not that difficult to set up a password. Here’s a how-to guide … and another.  

Do you protect your Wi-Fi? Have you had problems in the past. If you’re a happy mooch, don’t you think you should at least let them know?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...