New research has revealed millions of people in the UK have accessed their neighbours’ broadband without permission. It’s thought up to 2.7million Britons may be piggybacking Wi-Fi when their own internet went down, with a third of perpetrators taking just half an hour or less to figure out the Wi-Fi password correctly. The study from satellite broadband provider Konnect found a fifth of offenders spent over two hours guessing passwords, while five percent spent weeks trying out various potential combinations.
When trying to guess a password, their neighbour’s name was the most likely starting point, with 30 percent trying this out first. Next was pet names (28 percent) followed by the names of their neighbour’s children (24 percent).
The research found that an additional 1.6million Brits also ‘piggybacked’ off their neighbours’ broadband after getting previous permission to use their Wi-Fi.
Once they managed to get the keys to a Wi-Fi connection they don’t pay for, the average time offenders use their neighbours’ broadband is a whopping 52 days.
While one in 20 offenders said they used their neighbours’ broadband for over a year.
Speaking about the findings, James Soames, the global marketing director for Konnect, said: “In 2022 most people expect to have a reliable internet connection but as this research shows, that is not the case for millions of households across the UK.
“Having a connection to the internet plays such a vital role in people’s ability to get on with their lives, that we’re seeing some extreme measures taken to get online – such as hacking into your neighbour’s Wi-Fi or travelling over 60 miles.
“The good news is that with satellite broadband, you can get an internet connection even in places where fibre is not an option.”
If you’re worried about having your broadband hacked into by a neighbour, there are a few things you can do right away to protect yourself.
The best thing you can do is change your Wi-Fi password immediately.
To help make your broadband as difficult to hack as possible, choose a password that features a combination of upper and lower case characters as well as numbers and special symbols.
Other things you can do to protect your connection is updating your router’s firmware, hiding SSID / Wi-Fi name and even using a VPN on your router to protect your connection even further.