Poll: 32% Of Neighbors Mooch Wi-Fi From Open Networks

Is the Wi-Fi connection that you're on now open, password-free? If it's also a Wi-Fi network within your home, you should probably change that. A recent survey found that 32% of respondents are guilty of mooching off of nearby open Wi-Fi hotspots, up a significant amount from 18% in a 2008 poll. Kelly Davis-Felner, marketing director at the Wi-Fi Alliance, had this to say about the results: "The reality is that many consumers have not taken the steps to protect themselves."

Many consumers simply assume that having an open Wi-Fi connection is the neighborly thing to do, and since so many eateries and stores provide open hotspots for people to use, there's a train of thought that says it's okay. But the reality is that users can tap into easy-to-navigate software programs that allow network spying, basically allowing anyone with a little know-how to snag credit card numbers, etc. right from your open connection.

That 32% figure is honestly a bit higher than we expected. We've seen fewer and fewer open hotspots in residential neighborhoods lately, but obviously too many routers are still running password-free. Just a friendly PSA: if that's you, password up!