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‘No More Mr Wi-Fi’: Majority of Brits unlikely to share Wi-Fi access with neighbours over lack of trust and skyrocketing broadband prices

A majority of Brits are unlikely to share their Wi-Fi connection with their neighbours over fresh concerns around privacy, and amidst surging broadband costs, according to a recent survey conducted by ExpressVPN, the leading consumer privacy and security company.

The survey of over 1,000 people across the UK showed that 59% do not trust their neighbours with access to their Wi-Fi, and for good reason. ExpressVPN found that one in seven (14%) have caught a friend, family member or neighbour attempting to use their home Wi-Fi network to access something ‘dodgy’ such as a pornography site or the dark web.

Despite half (7%) of these instances leading to a dispute or confrontation, an even higher number of respondents (one in six, 16%) revealed that they too had attempted to use someone else’s private Wi-Fi network to connect to a dodgy site.

Amidst the cost-of-living crisis, and on the back of the news that broadband prices are going to be hiked by 17% for some households, Wi-Fi theft is set to become a growing issue as more Brits look to ‘steal’ Wi-Fi in an effort to save money. The data shows that 13% of Brits have caught a neighbour trying to connect to their Wi-Fi without permission, and a study from last year showed that more than four million people in the UK have ‘hacked’ a neighbour’s Wi-Fi in a bid to avoid fees.

By admission, Brits’ own bad habits are raising security concerns, too. Three quarters (74%) have said that they are concerned about securing their Wi-Fi network, as nearly a third (31%) admit to having saved the passwords for private Wi-Fi networks so they can connect again easily, and a quarter (24%) think that their online safety has been compromised by using someone else’s Wi-Fi.

You Shall Not Password…

Despite fresh privacy concerns around neighbours using private Wi-Fi connections, two-thirds (67%) of Brits do not take any measures to protect their home network connection.
ExpressVPN’s survey shows this could be due to a lack of understanding of the technology required to protect Wi-Fi: two-thirds (66%) are unfamiliar with Wi-Fi encryption protocols, like WEP, WPA and WPA2, and 13% admitted that they find VPNs and DNS too complicated.

As a result, some people are turning to more ‘unique’ methods to deter piggybacking neighbours. One in 20 (4%) revealed that they have changed the name of their Wi-Fi network to discourage unauthorised access.

Some of the creative Wi-Fi names found by ExpressVPN’s survey, include:
· 5G Test Mast
· TV Licensing Surveillance
· Virus infected Wi-Fi
· The FBI

Others took a more aggressive approach to deter access, with Wi-Fi names including ‘My Wi-Fi M*****F*****s’, ‘P*** Off This Isn’t Your Wi-Fi’ and ‘Don’t even f****** think about it’.

More than one in 10 (11%) also admitted that they had changed their Wi-Fi name because they found it funny, or it reflected their sense of humour. Some of these, uncovered by ExpressVPN’s survey, included ‘No. 145s Wife is Cheating’ and ‘B**** in Apartment 23’.

However, renaming your Wi-Fi to something ‘off-putting’ or humorous could lead to more unwanted attention, as 17% of Brits said they would be more likely to try and join a Wi-Fi network if it had a humorous name.

Lauren Hendry Parsons, Privacy Advocate for ExpressVPN commented:

“As broadband prices surge across the UK, more and more people will look for crafty ways to pinch the pennies. But Brits are right to be concerned about the security implications – accessing someone else’s Wi-Fi, or vice versa, can lead to malware infections or even identity theft. So always think twice about who’s connecting to your Wi-Fi, and who you have handed your Wi-Fi password out to in the past.

“Changing your Wi-Fi name to something humorous won’t do much to deter access, but fortunately for the jokesters, it isn’t necessarily a security issue, assuming it doesn’t reveal any personally identifiable information. Instead, equipping your connection with extra security precautions, such as a VPN to disguise internet traffic, and ensuring it utilises Wi-Fi encryption protocols, ideally WPA2, is essential.”

In an effort to improve Wi-Fi safety standards, ExpressVPN recently launched Aircove in the UK. Aircove is the world’s first Wi-Fi 6 router with built-in VPN protection. Aircove lets users protect and encrypt every device in their home within minutes. This includes smart TVs, voice assistants and other smart home devices that aren’t usually compatible with VPN software.
To find out more about Aircove, please visit here: