Almost half of home wi-fi networks can be hacked in less than five seconds, a study has found.
Around 40,000 networks across six UK cities were found to be high risk, with half of them having no password at all, despite 82 per cent of Brits believing their home wireless networks are secure, the research by insurance firm CPP discovered.
In the experiment, “ethical hacker” Jason Hart used specially developed, freely available software to identify insecure networks. He found that even those with a password could be hacked within seconds.
Hart was also able to harvest usernames and passwords from users of public wi-fi networks at a rate of more than 350 an hour.
Hart, senior vice president of authentication service provider CRYPTOCard, said: "With the growth in the number of smartphones and wireless networks, it has become far easier for hackers to crack usernames and passwords, allowing them access to emails, social networks, and online banking sites and even to assume the online identity of their victim.
"It's vital that both businesses and individuals think very carefully about network security and what information they provide when going online."