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Consumers urged to step up wireless security

Treat Wi-Fi like toothbrushes, urges alliance

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Consumers are once again being urged to use the latest (WPA2) encryption technology and apply strong passwords to protect home networks from snooping and other attacks.

The call comes in a survey by industry trade body the Wi-Fi Alliance, which warned on Wednesday that "borrowing" access to unprotected Wi-Fi access is still commonplace. A poll by the Wi-Fi Alliance, conducted by Wakefield Research, found that one-third (32 per cent) of respondents said they had attempted to get onto Wi-Fi network that wasn't theirs – well up from the 18 per cent recorded in an equivalent a December 2008 poll.

By contrast, two in five (40 per cent) of respondents said they would be more likely to trust someone with their house key than with their Wi-Fi network password. Sharing a Wi-Fi password was more personal than sharing a toothbrush, according to a quarter. Wi-Fi Alliance execs compared good password security on wireless networks to car safety measures most people have taken for granted for years.

"Most consumers know that leaving their Wi-Fi network open is not a good thing, but the reality is that many have not taken the steps to protect themselves," said Kelly Davis-Felner, marketing director for the Wi-Fi Alliance. "Consumers can usually activate Wi-Fi security protections in a few simple steps, but much like the seatbelts in your car, it won't protect you unless you use it." ®

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