More than half (58 percent) of web users admit to using someone's else internet connection without authorisation, says the PC Support Group.

The practice, which is also known as Wi-Fi 'piggybacking' sees web users connecting to the internet via a wireless network which has been left unsecured because the owner has not set a password.

A survey of 500 web users by the IT support firm also revealed 29 percent believe there's nothing wrong with the practice, despite the fact that dishonestly using an electronics communications service with the intent to avoid paying is an offence under the Communications Act 2003.

"The perception is that borrowing a bit of bandwidth is cheeky but not really criminal behaviour," says Phil Bird, managing director of  the PC Support Group.

"There's also a view that if someone does not take the trouble to password-protect their wireless network they have to accept the consequences. Unfortunately, human nature being what it is, if you don't make your system secure, you are at the very least likely to end up paying for someone else to have the privilege of accessing the web. It will also slow your use of the internet."

Bird warned that on occasions piggybacking is used also as a means of hiding illegal downloading activity or engaging in identity theft.

The number of Wi-Fi networks that remain unsecured has decreased from 25 percent in 2006 to just six percent. However, more Brits would trust a friend with their house key than they would with their Wi-Fi password as 87 percent said they'd leave their key with a friend but only 77 percent would disclose their Wi-Fi password.

Furthermore, 84 percent of business users said they access Wi-Fi networks outside the office, yet only 11 percent are given any specific guidance by the firm when it comes to protecting sensitive information when using a public Wi-Fi network.

"Many business users don't think twice about logging onto free Wi-Fi in café's or using their hotel's wireless network when travelling, but the truth is, although convenient, open wireless networks also carry some risk," said Bird.

"More people are working remotely and using wireless technology than ever before. The education of risk tends to lack behind the technology."