Your home or small business wireless network comes with security but it won't work if you don't turn it on. Doing so is a little involved but most of us, even the most timid, can accomplish the task. The software with most wireless routers includes a security, called WPA or WEP with newer routers, which will allow you to randomly generate an encrypted 'network key'. This key is required to access your wireless network. Each computer using your network will need to be configured one time with the key. After that everything is automatic.
If you don't use these security features anyone can piggyback on your network and access the internet through your resources. The wireless radio signals radiate out up to 300 feet in all directs and go through walls and other structures making it easy for someone to hop on your signal. Piggybacking can be unintentional but sometimes the practice is intentional; the more crowded your neighborhood or workplace the more vulnerable you are to this theft. Either way your bandwidth is being stolen and your own internet signal can be slowed or interrupted.
Worse, hackers can use readily available software to look at files on your computer. Sensitive private and financial information can be easily hijacked as long as your wireless network is open. For free advice on setting up and securing a wireless network check out www.jiwire.com.