Ever since the dawn of Wi-Fi, earnest engineers in windowless rooms have busted their collective butts to create security mechanisms that thwart wireless cyber attacks, from the insufficient WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) to the more secure WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access, uh, 2). But, apparently, their hard work doesn't matter to many people. While security systems available for Wi-Fi networks are comprehensive, thousands of customers have largely ignored them entirely. In fact, several recent studies show that a huge number of small businesses don't bother to use any encryption on their Wi-Fi networks. And that includes retailers, which are endangering customers' credit cards. For the past few years, RSA Security, a division of EMC Corp. ( EMC), has surveyed the world's major financial hubs, sniffing out unencrypted wireless networks. The most recent poll found that New Yorkers, unsurprisingly, are streetwise with their Wi-Fi, and only 3% of business-related access points are unencrypted. In London, on the other hand, 20% of all business access points went totally unprotected. Meanwhile, at the beginning of 2009, Motorola ( MOT) announced the results of its second annual AirDefense Retail Shopping Wireless Security Survey, which tracks wireless data security in some 4,000 stores in cities where people like to shop. Now, you'd think retailers would be pretty worried about security. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, there were 656 reported identity data breaches in 2008, including customers' credit card and Social Security numbers, up from 446 in 2007. The most nefarious and embarrassing of these was the case in which smooth criminals stole more than 45 million credit card numbers from TJX Cos. ( TJX), a crime that began when they checked out one unsecured access point in a single retail store, and eventually gained access to the local area network, or LAN. Lowe's ( LOW) was victim to a similar crime in 2003, in which a couple of ruffians managed to hack into the network from the parking lot of a Michigan store, although they managed to steal only a handful of credit card numbers.