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8/1/2006
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Most Home Users Secure Wi-Fi Networks: Study

Consumers are mostly afraid of personal information theft and eavesdropping, and the Wi-Fi Protected Access standard has made being secure much easier than it used to be.

Six out of ten consumers with Wi-Fi lock down their home networks, said a poll released Tuesday by a research firm.

According to New York-based JupiterResearch, 60 percent of home computer users who own a wireless network enable security on the network. Security experts unanimously recommend that consumers apply wireless security provisions to protect their computers and the data on them, as well as keep freeloaders from piggybacking on their bandwidth.

"Security is the number one concern for Wi-Fi network owners," said Ina Sebastian, a JupiterResearch analyst, in a statement. "They are particularly afraid of personal information theft and eavesdropping, but the Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) standard has enabled an easier setup process more suitable for consumers."

WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) and WPA2 are the successors to the earlier WEP (Wired Equivalency Privacy) protocol, and provide considerably stronger encryption to keep out unauthorized users. WPA is included with virtually all consumer-grade wireless access cards and routers.

The JupiterResearch poll also noted that while at-home computer users are likely to lock their networks, many aren't above stealing bandwidth from those not so security conscious. Nearly 3 in 10 have already logged onto unsecured Wi-Fi networks while traveling, for example, and slightly more than 1 in 10 have logged onto a neighbors' network.

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