Look, let's face it: Wi-Fi (wireless Internet) security is a godawful mess.
It's incredibly confusing, and yet at the same time it's terribly important. You've got a little radio transmitter and receiver in your laptop (that's what wireless is, after all) and unless you secure it, every time you make a wireless connection you are broadcasting all of your private data in the clear to anyone within range.
(And, psst! Anyone who can use Google can find freely available programs that will help them eavesdrop on you.)
Don't believe me? Here, just go read the official security statement from the Wi-Fi Alliance, an industry group.
And consider that WEP, the kind of security that most of the people with "secured" home networks are currently using has become such a complete joke that the Wi-Fi Alliance is too sheepish to even mention it on their site. In fact, their attorneys have probably advised them against it.
Like a lot of you, I guess, I am the designated System Administrator for my network of friends and my extended family. I'm the guy they call when the computer eats their homework, or they get infected with spyware from surfing porn sites ("I have no idea how this happened!") or iTunes suddenly stops working on them.
I achieved this honor by having worked in the computer industry for the last 20 years and being a general propellerhead, but I have never made my living in the realm of PC security technology.
I have managed to secure my home wireless network pretty well, using the much stronger WPA standard; when I take my corporate laptop on the road with me, the IT staff of the big multinational consulting firm that sends me regular paychecks has thoughtfully provided me with Virtual Private Network (VPN) software and a SafeWord card that allows me to log in securely from almost anywhere, whether it's a wired connection in a hotel room or a wireless connection in a random airport somewhere.
So until recently, I haven't spent too much time worrying about wireless security. I've either been able to handle it on my own, or I've had some very smart and well-educated security folks handling it for me.