According to a research conducted by Sophos, 54% of the 560 respondents confessed they had broken the law. The online survey was conducted between October 31 and November 6.

"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 neighbors’ 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," says Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos.

The security firm recommends that Wi-Fi users take several steps to avoid such mishaps. First of all, users should use an encryption system such as WPA and WPA2, as well as keeping up-to-date anti-virus, security patches, and client firewall.

Furthermore, they should choose a strong password for their wireless access point, use MAC address filtering and restrict internet access to certain hours. For instance, home users could schedule their routers to disable access while they’re usually at work.

Last but not least, it is recommended that users don’t broadcast the name of their wireless network, nor should they choose an easy-to-guess name for it.