A survey commissioned by the Information Commissioner's Office has revealed that 40 per cent of Britons don't know how to configure security settings on their home Wi-Fi networks.
The survey, which was conducted by YouGov last month, found that 16 per cent of the respondents were not sure whether their home Wi-Fi networks were protected from intrusion and misuse.
The ICO highlighted the grave implications of having an unprotected wireless network and advised internet service providers and wireless equipment makers to provide clearer instructions for end-users on how to make their Wi-Fi networks more secure.
The data protection watchdog advised users to protect their networks with passwords and prevent an outsider from accessing their networks without permissions. It also advised users on how to encrypt the information sent over Wi-Fi networks for data protection.
“People wouldn't go out and leave their front door unlocked, but many are still surfing the internet without adequate protection for their personal information,” Steve Wood, head of policy at the ICO said.
“The fact that Google's Street View cars were able to pick up payload data from unsecured Wi-Fi networks as a by-product of their signals mapping exercise, has further highlighted that more people need to take their Wi-Fi security settings seriously,” he added.