A 39 year-old man who was found using a laptop outside a house in Chiswick, London was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of stealing a Wi-Fi connection.
Metropolitan Police officers questioned the man as he was sitting on a wall outside the house.
According to Scotland Yard, the man subsequently admitted that he had been browsing the internet using a nearby unsecured wireless broadband connection.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said that the arrest should act as a warning to anyone who thinks it is acceptable to use other people's broadband connections illegally.
However, James Walker, product manager at broadband access provider Zyxel, suggested that the problem is widespread.
"Although this arrest is intended to act as a deterrent, it is just a drop in the ocean as there are thousands of unsecured home networks, with thousands of people unlawfully using them to access the internet," he said.
Walker added that businesses need to make sure that remote workers' networks are secure to prevent unauthorised access to sensitive corporate information.
"The security of home computers is just as important, because they carry critical business data and must be sufficiently protected," he said.
"Home users must be educated to set high security standards, not just accept the basic default settings which can be easily bypassed."
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