Is Someone Else on my WiFi?
Is someone else on your WiFi? When our connection goes slow without explanation it is a question we often ask ourselves, but it is surprisingly easy to figure out if this is the case. It is important to verify that your network is secure because, in addition to your neighbor or the guy from the bar below, there might also be a nasty hacker who is accessing your network to commit illegal and sordid acts that may land you in serious trouble. In this OneHowTo article we will tell you step by step how to know if someone else is on your WiFi so you can hunt them down. Follow our recommendations to check if your connection is safe and sound.
To know if some filthy rat is on your WiFi the first thing to do is to verify your Internet connection. It is true that the connection may be affected by bad weather and there are times when a glitch can cause your browsing to be slower than normal, but the truth is that usually the WiFi should work smoothly. So, if you see that your connection is slower than usual, maybe the reason is that some horrible individual is stealing the signal.
In addition to checking the speed you can also look at your router to see if the little light used by WiFi (Or WLAN) is flashing after you turn off all your devices (including smartphones). This is a clear indication that a usurper is attacking your network.
In addition to the naked eye, you can also check if someone is stealing the WiFi using online tools which are free to use and are available for both Windows and Mac. Then we can differentiate the different applications that you use when you connect:
Microsoft Windows and Apple
- Wireless Network Watcher
- Microsoft Network Monitor
Mobile devices (Android)
- Network Discovery
- Net Scan
iOS mobile devices
- IP Network Scanner
The only flaw in these tools is that they can only detect computers that are connected at that moment. It is not possible to access a list of other IP's which have been able to connect to your wireless to see if someone else was on your WiFi network at an earlier time.
Another way to know if someone else is on your WiFi is to consult the router. This device has a record that will allow you to find out if, besides you, there is someone else connected to the network at that moment. To do this you have to enter the management interface of the router and then click on your IP address in the browser bar (on the same router).
You'll see a box opens where we can enter the following code: ipconfig / all. Click "enter" and you will find that there is an address in the browser toolbar. Copy and paste this address in your browser and your router interface opens. It will ask you the user name and password that can be found in the router's manual or on the sticker on the router iself.
Afterwards you can search the history of the devices connected to the WiFi. This information usually appears in the DHCP section or if you see groups associated with the network, a registration will appear. By clicking this option you wll be given all IP addresses that are connected to your router. If there is more than the amount of people you allow to use your network, it is because someone else is on your WiFi network stealing access.
If someone else connects to your WiFi network, navigating the web using your connection, they might be a hacker willing to commit computer crimes that can put your legal integrity at risk. These horrible people can use networks to threaten banks, alter criminal files (weapons, drugs, child abuse, etc.) or commit fraud, so you need to be vigilant against such attacks. If you don't detect them in time, it is possible you will find police banging on the door of your house to arrest you.
You can prevent thieves jumping on your WiFi by following some simple steps that will improve the security of your network to protect yourself:
- Change the password: Although you get a default password specified by the manufacturer, it is best to change it and create one that contains uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols, as this will make it more dificult to hack.
- Configure the router: There is an option on the router that allows you to specify the devices that you want. Only these devices will be allowed to connect and you will be able to see more easily if someone else is on your WiFi.
- Change the name of the WiFi: If you change the default SSID name you will see that an unauthorised person who wants to connect cannot find your device as your network will not appear in the list of available connections. To find you, they will have to manually enter the name that only you know.
To ensure someone else is not on your WiFi, prevention is better than cure. WiFi security, like all computer security, has different levels and for optimum protection it is best to use WPA or WPA2 (WEP is notoriously easy to hack). To find out what level of wireless security you have, you need to look in you wireless connection properties where this information can be found.
Although WPA2 is optimal, some devices such as older computer consoles, will only work on the WEP system. A good way to get around this is to create another wireless network group for these devices. This way you can use devices which you want to keep as secure as possible when using sensitive information on the WAP2 network and other devices or guests on the WEP. Remember, hackers might not only want to piggy back on your IP address for their own nefarious interests, but they might want to get your personal information as well by hacking in to your device.
At OneHowTo we give you more tips about how to change the password for your router.
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