How to stop your neighbours from stealing your WiFi

Are you fed up of your neighbours stealing your internet? After all who wouldn’t be frustrated!

You have worked hard to set up a robust home WiFi network, one that can handle all of your devices. You have set up your router, spent money on boosters and other equipment and established what you thought was a strong password. But now you notice your WiFi is slowing down on a daily basis, causing your Netflix streams to buffer and your email to slow to a crawl.

What is going on, and why does the slowdown happen right after your neighbours pull into their driveway every day? You could be a victim of WiFi theft, still a common problem even in this day and age.

It is no fun to have your WiFi stolen, but the issue could be more than monetary. Having intruders on your WiFi network opens you up to all kinds of bad things, from hacking attempts to online crimes. If you think someone is stealing your WiFi signal, you need to take immediate steps to find out – and lock things down even tighter.

You can start by detecting the WiFi intrusion. A number of apps will allow you to scan your entire network, giving you a list of names and IP addresses. Start by downloading a scanning app, then run it against your network and look for devices you do not recognise. If you see anything suspicious, it is time to take action.

If you think the neighbours or anyone else is stealing your WiFi signal, you need to change your password immediately. This vital step cannot afford to wait – the sooner you change your credentials the sooner you can start locking the intruders out.

Be sure to choose a strong password, one that is easy for you to remember but impossible for others to guess. Never use publicly available information as part of your password, especially not anything you have posted on social media. Using mnemonic devices or phrases is generally safer than using single words and numbers. Think of a phrase that is long but easy to remember, then build your password based on that.

If you have not already done so, switching to the highest level of security your router supports is a smart step as well. If you bought your router a while ago, you may have simply used the default security protocol, but it makes sense to up the ante and switch to a more secure type of access. You will need to update the connections on your various devices, but that is a small step to pay for improved online security.

Now is also a good time to check for router updates. Just like your computer, your router needs regular software updates to keep it secure and your data protected. Start by going to the manufacturer’s website and looking for new updates. If you find new firmware, download it and apply it to your router. Sign up for regular updates if you can – it will help you keep your system updated and your network secure.

Even after you have taken all these steps, it is important to keep a close watch on your WiFi traffic. You never know when an enterprising neighbour or hacker will start snooping around your network again. Scanning your network regularly, monitoring the connection speed and keeping your entire network updated can all help keep you safe, but eternal vigilance is definitely warranted.

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