Australians disciplined at protecting home Wi-Fi connections

  • Speed can be affected
  • Passwords should be at least 8 characters
  • Leechers can download illegal content on your connection

The majority of Australians using Wi-Fi broadband internet connections at home are securing their networks with password protection, according to a survey.

A recent poll at broadband comparison website Compare Broadband asked site visitors, “Is your Wi-Fi network password protected?” Of the 323 votes received, 81% (261 votes) said “Yes”, while only 8% (27 votes) said “No”, and 11% (35 votes) said they never used Wi-Fi to access the internet.

Sharing a broadband connection without permission can affect broadband speed, in addition to other legal ramifications.

Spokesperson for Compare Broadband, Jesse Somer, said: “When someone goes over their limit the connection is either slowed down to a crawl, or worse, excess charges ensue. If you don’t lock your network you risk losing a good quality connection, as well as potentially receiving a large bill at the end of the month.”

Legalities surrounding the issue can span anything from theft of a finite amount of data, to being accused of a serious crime. This happened in a recent case in the US when an individual was accused of downloading child pornography. The files were actually downloaded by a neighbour who was taking advantage of the unsecured network.

Mr Somer continued: “While 81% is a great result and shows most people are protecting themselves, the survey still shows some people are leaving their connection vulnerable to hijacking.

"Governments have considered disconnecting internet connections of those that share files illegally, but if someone were using your Wi-Fi connection, it would be you who gets the blame.”

Another common issue with Wi-Fi is related to the sharing of illegal files. Customers may receive an email from their Internet Service Provider (ISP) informing them they have been illegally downloading content like movies or music, although they haven’t done it themselves.

It's easy to set up your wireless network safely by following the instructions from your router manufacturer. Compare Broadband also has some tips to safely setting up your modem router.