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Web Piggybackers : How Wireless Home Internet Users Risk Identity Theft

Millions of households are potentially at risk by unknowingly allowing others to piggyback on their broadband connections for free.

Internet Service Providers now commonly provide with free wireless broadband routers which allow users to connect to the internet from anywhere within a restricted range.

However, research by moneysupermarket.com found out that nearly one in six of all broadband customers surveyed left their Wireless router unprotected and one in nine - that's more than 3.5 million customers says Guardian - said that they did piggyback on someone's else Wireless connection.

Piggybackers use their emails to browse and read emails but also download films and music - which means that the account holders could potentially face huge bills or suspended accounts as they exceed their limits.

Obviously, adding passwords, using the more secure WPA encryption (rather than WEP) and keeping a tab on how much data you are consuming could come useful.

Unprotected broadband users could also risk more trouble if their broadband connections are used for criminal purposes or if their bank accounts are raided.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.