That my friend is a very good question!
Personally I have tried various wireless security protocols and MAC filtring. I haven't had any trouble with freeloaders but I know that "home-use" wireless hardware is surely hackable to someone who knows how. If someone is having security problems with hackers or freeloaders, I would suggest proffesional equpment. The thing is, that kind of equipment is far too expensive for a home user. Let's say you do have the money to buy such hardware, you would need a networking degree just to set it up!
Use the best available security you have on your existing hardware, change your password often and if you share, share readonly!
WPA2 is the most common effective wireless security protocol (Enterprise > Personal, AES/CCMP > TKIP). This can be circumvented if the passphrase is a word found in a brute force dictionary. A combination of hidden SSID, WPA2 with a complex passphrase, and MAC filtering is the safest.
It's not always possible to choose your connection type, but Internet security is critical. When you can, opt for wireless networks that require a network security key or have some other form of security, such as a certificate. The information sent over these networks are encrypted, and encryption can help protect your computer from unauthorized access. For example, instead of using a public hot spot with no encryption, use a virtual private network (VPN). If your business does not have its own VPN, you can download and install free VPN software. The security features of the different available networks appear along with the network name as your PC discovers them.
Thanks folks for all your valuable replies. I know that I am not good in Linux but even a teenager with a good knowledge of it, can hack your password very easily. I had never been a victim as somebody stealing my password and eating up my bandwidth.
Interestingly, WPA2 with its algorithms as AES/TKIP and if you can strengthen your key with 128 bit, I guess its not very easy to hack your password.
And moreover, its very complicated to login to your PC and then router's page to change either your SSID or paaskeys.
You know, last week I got to hear from one of my journalist friend who is close to Cnet that there is a touch screen router coming up in market wherein to change your SSID/passkeys, you do not need to go to the web interface, you can actually do it from its LCD screen. It can also be configured by its own..............without a PC
I got a chance to look its review by Cnet giant Dong Ngo..........