It seems Wi-Fi is actually extremely common, in fact in a recent poll up to 45% do it! I guess most people here have, I admit I do even with my phone when I’m out and about I’ll use any WiFi point that works.
We can blame it on the manufacturers for having lax default security settings, but they have to do it because if they enforced WEP for example by default..most people wouldn’t be able to connect and would most likely return it to the shop claiming that it’s ‘broken’.
Sophos has revealed new research into the use of other people’s Wi-Fi networks to piggyback onto the internet without payment. The research shows that 54 percent of computer users have admitted breaking the law, by using someone else’s wireless internet access without permission.
According to Sophos, many internet-enabled homes fail to properly secure their wireless connection properly with passwords and encryption, allowing freeloading passers-by and neighbours to steal internet access rather than paying an internet service provider (ISP) for their own.
As for the legal and ethical side, it’s hard to say. In most countries it’s still a fairly grey area – if you don’t do anything illegal with the connection (sniffing, cracking, hacking, DoS etc.) and you don’t use enough bandwidth to cause a problem it’s hard to say it’s illegal.
Stealing Wi-Fi internet access may feel like a victimless crime, but it deprives ISPs of revenue. Furthermore, if you’ve hopped onto your next door neighbours’ wireless broadband connection to illegally download movies and music from the net, chances are that you are also slowing down their internet access and impacting on their download limit. For this reason, most ISPs put a clause in their contracts ordering users not to share access with neighbours – but it’s very hard for them to enforce this.
The contract clause is interested but as mentioned, extremely hard to enforce.
I guess Wifi jacking will continue and as more mobile devices support Wifi (n95, E61i, PSP, iPhone etc) it will get even more common.
Source: Net Security