More than 4 million people in the UK have ‘hacked’ a neighbour’s WiFi when their own has gone down or in a bid to avoid fees, study finds
- 4.3 million people in the UK have ‘hacked’ a neighbour’s WiFi, French firm finds
- Using someone else’s WiFi without their permission is known as ‘piggybacking’
- Often people can piggyback on an internet network by guessing the password
A whopping 4.3 million people in the UK have ‘hacked’ a neighbour’s WiFi, a new report reveals.
Paris-based satellite broadband provider Konnect has surveyed 2,000 UK residents about how far they’ve gone in the bid to stay connected.
The average time perpetrators spent using a neighbour’s internet without permission was 52 days, although one in 20 people remained logged on for over a year.
Brits use someone else’s WiFi connection without permission – commonly known as ‘piggybacking’ – when their own internet has gone down, or sometimes even when their internet is still working in an effort to avoid fees.
4.3 million people in the UK have ‘hacked’ a neighbour’s WiFi, a new report reveals. The research was carried out by Mortar Research online among a nationally representative sample of 2,001 people living in the UK
WHAT IS PIGGYBACKING?
Piggybacking is stealing or commandeering a wireless connection, often without the owner’s knowledge.
A perpetrator can do this using a network of someone they know, or someone they don’t know.
Often, people who know each other, such as neighbours, can piggyback on an internet network by guessing their password.
Konnect also found that hacking a neighbour’s connections isn’t the only way Brits go to extremes to get online.
One survey respondent went to McDonald’s to use WiFi to download TV shows, while another said they travelled 60 miles to their ex’s place.
‘In 2022 most people expect to have a reliable internet connection but as this research shows, that is not the case for millions of households across the UK,’ said James Soames, global marketing director at Konnect.
‘Having a connection to the internet plays such a vital role in people’s ability to get on with their lives, that we’re seeing some extreme measures taken to get online.
‘The good news is that with satellite broadband, you can get an internet connection even in places where fibre is not an option.’
The research was carried out online for Konnect by Mortar Research among a ‘nationally representative’ sample of 2,001 people living in the UK.
Among the 4.3 million total who had hacked a neighbour’s WiFi, 1.6 million had held onto passwords after getting permission on a previous occasion.
Brits ‘piggyback’ off a neighbour’s WiFi often when their own internet has gone down, but sometimes even when their internet is still working in an effort to avoid fees
But 2.7 million hacked their way in by guessing passwords, with combinations so simple that 33 per cent cracked it within half an hour.
Nearly a fifth (18 per cent) of perpetrators spent over two hours – and in some cases weeks (5 per cent) – trying various password combinations.
The WiFi owner’s name (30 per cent), pet names (28 per cent) and children’s names (24 per cent) were the most likely starting guesses for would-be hackers.
‘Annoying’ and ‘unreliable ‘connections was given as the justification for hacking WiFi by half (55 per cent).
10 per cent said they had piggybacked because they ‘needed’ to do some online shopping, while 7 per cent admitted it was so they could continue online dating.
Konnect also found the average Brit can only bear to be disconnected from the internet for just three hours and 35 minutes before starting to feel anxious.
And only 25 per cent of Brits are fully confident that their neighbours have never piggybacked their internet.
DESPERATE BRITS GO TO EXTREMES TO STAY CONNECTED
Below are some of the extremes Brits have gone to to stay connected, according to the Konnect survey.
– ‘After my phone broke whilst I was on holiday, I insisted upon being driven to the closest city to buy a new phone so that I could connect to the internet during the rest of my holiday’
– ‘I’ve gone to my local supermarket to connect to WiFi’
– ‘I travelled 30 miles to my office in order to gain a WiFi connection I knew was reliable’
– I travelled 60 miles to my ex’s’
– ‘I went to a McDonald’s to download TV shows’
– ‘One time when my internet went down, I travelled almost 2 hours to my parents. I stayed with them for three days until my connection was restored’
– ‘I sat outside an ex-boyfriend’s house to use my laptop’
– ‘Went to the local community centre where a yoga class was on and sat at the back and connected to the council’s internet’