Having a password on your home WiFi can seem like a burden. You get a new phone, and you have to try and remember the password. Or your friend comes over and wants to use the WiFi. So inconvenient!

But even more inconvenient are the things that can happen if you don’t put a password on your WiFi. There are two major problems:

  • All your neighbors, and even people driving by, will soon notice and will start using your WiFi. Why not, it’s free! At the very least, the speed of your WiFi will slow down a great deal as everyone in the neighborhood starts using it to watch Netflix. At worst, others will use your WiFi to download illegal files, and if the download is ever traced, the trail will lead right back to you.
  • Access to your WiFi means access to your computers. If your neighbor’s computer is infected with viruses, the infection could spread to your computers, too. Or worse, a hacker could use the open WiFi to get access to your computers.

Some hackers make it their business to visit as many of these networks as possible, hoping to get access to your bank account password and other sensitive information. There’s even an app called WifiMapper that shows the locations of open WiFi networks.

The solution? Make up a password you can remember, but which will be hard to guess. Two words and a number are generally sufficient. And let the hackers find someone else to hack.