How to Know if Someone is Stealing your Wi-Fi
If your internet connection is running slowly, it might just be a temporary problem. On the other hand, somebody could be stealing your internet and using up your bandwidth. If you do suspect that someone is stealing your internet, then there are a few things you can do to find them and some advice to stop them from using your Wi-Fi for free.
Disconnect every device in your home from the internet. Then go and take a look at your modem and see if any of the lights are flashing. Most modems will have one light to signify incoming or outgoing data.
If you’ve disconnected every device from your home network, there should be no data going through the modem. If you see that the data light is still flashing, then it may signify that someone else is logged in.
Check Devices Attached to the Router
All computers contain a mac address which provides physical information about hardware connected to a network. Some routers allow you to see a list of mac addresses currently connected to the router whilst others will provide you with a list of mac addresses and include the device’s name as well.
Login to your router by typing its IP address into your browser’s address bar. Most routers use either 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1, but some may use a different address. You’ll find the IP address either on the box or the underside of your router.
You’ll then be prompted to enter your username and password. Again, you should find the default username and password either on the box or the underside of the router. Your ISP may have changed the username and password during installation, so you may need to contact them to get this information. Once you have logged in, look for a link which says “Device List”, “Attached Devices”, or something similar.
Once you have a list of devices, check that the number of devices connected is the same as the number of devices you know are connected. If the amounts don’t tally, then you may have someone stealing your Wi-Fi.
Apps and Software
There are a number of apps available which allow you to search for devices connected to your home network. On most apps, you can name the devices and mark them as safe. If an unknown device connects to your network, you’ll see it instantly.
For Android devices, one of the most popular apps available is Wi-Fi Inspector. It allows you to save a list of devices that are connected to your router and mark them as safe.
Apple iOS has an app called Fing, this scans your network and lists all the attached devices.
On Windows devices, Xirrus Wi-Fi Inspector is a popular choice to check your Wi-Fi. Xirrus comes with a range of tools and It can tell you exactly what devices are connected.
So you’ve found out someone is stealing your Wi-Fi, but what can you do about it?
Secure your network by changing to a new password which is a combinations of lowercase letters, uppercase letters, numbers and symbols. Ensure that you’re using the strongest possible wireless security settings by selecting WPA2.
Change your password regularly, especially if you have given it out to neighbors in the past. If they can get your Wi-Fi signal in their home, then they may be connected to your router.
Most devices will connect to known networks automatically. It’s possible that your neighbor is connected to your internet connection unknowingly. Changing the password will stop neighbors from connecting to your router.
You can also hide your SSID from being broadcasted. Only people who know the SSID and the password will be able to login. This is known as network cloaking and it is used as a deterrent as it offers no real protection from intruders.
Although internet speeds have continually increased over the years, the demand for high speed connections are also increasing. In some cases, available bandwidth may be a precious commodity in your home, especially if you have a number of people wanting to stream movies or TV shows at the same time.
Therefore, you’ll want to keep a check on your home network to ensure that people aren’t freely using your internet and taking up all your precious bandwidth.
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