How To Check If Someone Is Stealing Your Wifi

Try Turning It Off And On Again

How to Find Out If Someone is Stealing Your WiFi

If you only have a few Wi-Fi devices in your house, you may want to unplug or turn them all off and then watch the wireless signal light on your router. If the light continues to flicker, someone else is using your Wi-Fi.

However, this method only works if you can be sure that every wireless-capable device you have is powered down, which may not be easy to do in many homes. So, we present two in-depth methods for checking for Wi-Fi thieves, no matter what setup you have. If you need a refresher on wireless networking itself, then check out our Wi-Fi overview.

Someone Steals Your Wifi Learn How To Block Their Connection

steals wifi and block

Here are some simple ways to find outwho is stealing your Wi-Fi and what you can do to block them and protect your network.

It is increasingly common for people to run out of data on their cell phones and make use of neighboring Wi-Fi networks, making use of an unauthorized connection and in some cases causing the owner a slow or problematic Internet connection.

Different methods are used to illegally use a Wi-Fi network:

  • Weak or predictable passwords.
  • Wi-Fi password cracking, either by the use of old fashioned security mechanisms or because the password appears in a dictionary.
  • Default Wi-Fi password created based on patterns.
  • This last point is very common since routers usually come with a generic or pre-generated Wi-Fi network name and a password calculated based on patterns. Many of these patterns have been discovered so that passwords can be easily calculated and figured out regardless of whether the Wi-Fi security is set to maximum security.

    At home, neighbors who usually dont want to pay for an internet connection, may connect to your Wi-Fi network. In places such as bars, restaurants, hotels, which provide free Wi-Fi for their customers, neighbors or even tourists use their Wi-Fi since there are many pages and apps that collect passwords around the world.

    See Who’s On Your Network

    Windows users can download a free, portable program called Wireless Network Watcher , which will provide a list of every device currently connected to your network, so you can identify the ones that belong to you.

    To use Wireless Network Watcher, just launch the program, and it will immediately begin scanning your network. This will take a minute or twoyou’ll know it’s working if the bottom-left corner reads “Scanning…” Once it’s done, that message will disappear, and you’ll be presented with a full list of connected devices.

    The resulting list may look a little cryptic, especially if you aren’t super tech-savvy, but don’t worry. You can ignore the IP address and MAC address listings for now. If you’re using Wireless Network Watcher, just focus on the Device Name and Network Adapter Company columns.

    For example, I see an item named “Dulce” in Wireless Network Watcher, which is the name of my wife’s MacBook. I see another with no name, but with “Philips Lighting BV” as the network adapter manufacturer, it’s probably the hub for my Philips Hue lights. You can double-click on a device to add “User Text” that helps you identify each device and narrow down all the items in this list.

    Read Also: How To Find Out My Wifi Password Mac

    How To Tell If Someone Is Stealing Your Wifi

    How to tell if someones using your WiFi without permission .

    Is Someone Stealing Your WiFi?

    Youre on the internet, mindingyour own business, perhapswatching Netflix, workingonlinefrom home or swiping left and right for a match. You start to notice stalled streaming, pixilation, slow file transfer, emails getting held up in your outboxoralag in yourpick-up line going through the chat box.These are textbook signs of decreased network bandwidth, which mean someone could be stealing yourwifi.

    Why It Matters When Someones Stealing WiFi

    Aside from interrupting the latest West World episode and preventing your internet from reaching the optimal speeds, the more serious matter is the fact that yourWiFinetwork is unsecured and data could be hacked. A strangercould potentially access shared folders and take your personal information. Think your financial, medical and family matters, could all be susceptible.

    How to Check Whos UsingYour Internet

    Protect your privacy and get your internet back up to speed by taking control of who you let on yourWiFi. First, check to see whos stealing your internetin the following ways:

    Observe router light. Turn off all your wireless devicesin your homeand if the light on your routerindicatingwirelessinternet activity still blink, that means an outsidermay be on yourWiFi.

    What to Do About It

    How To Know If Someone Is Stealing Your Wi

    Know If Someone Is Stealing Your WiFi And How To Deal With It

    If your wireless home network is slower than it should be, it might not be the fault of your equipment or your internet service provider . Someone might be stealing your Wi-Fi. Fortunately, there are ways to detect and remove uninvited guests on your home network and make sure they dont come back.

    Is your connection slower than it should be? Take our speed test to find out.

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    Thoughts On How To Tell If Someone Is Using Your Wifi

  • Gertrude Turnersays:
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    How To Tell If Your Wifi Network Has Been Hacked

    Your Internet connection usually works at its best and is rarely slow, but it just hasnt been the same the past couple of days. Its slower than usual, but you havent added any other devices to justify the slowness. A slow Internet connection is usually the first sign that someone is stealing your WiFi, but is that what has happened in this case?

    Its not unusual for you to lose your WiFi signal, but this isnt something that should happen regularly. If its happening frequently, someone is definitely using your WiFi without your permission. Another sign that someone is stealing your WiFi would be flashing lights on your router when you are not using any of your devices.

    But, if you want to make sure if this is the case, the best thing you can do is install an Android app called Fing. The app is easy to use, and it will give you a list of all the devices that are connected to your WiFi network. You will also see which devices are currently online.

    Select the arrow to the right of the suspicious device, and you can add information such as a name, additional notes, or where this device is located .

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    See What’s Connected To Your Network

    Many of today’s network routers feature companion mobile apps. These applications let you both monitor and control your network right from your phone. Check your router’s user manual to see if there’s an app for it. Products from many big players offer home network hardware that come with this ability, including , Netgear and Asus.

    Within the app, look for a menu called “connected devices” or something similar . You should see a list of devices currently connected to your home Wi-Fi. Look through the list and take stock of what’s in your home that connects to the internet.

    If you see an active device that’s clearly not one you own, like a Windows PC when your family has only Macs, or perhaps an unknown iPad , that’s a tell-tale sign that someone else is using your Wi-Fi.

    If your router is a few years old, it may not offer an app. Even so, you should be able to access a list of connected devices though your router’s web portal. Check your manual for access instructions.

    Checking Your Routers Status Light And Settings In Routers App And Admin Control

    How To: Find out if someone is stealing your Wi-Fi

    If youd rather not download a third-party app, you can also check your router. Here are three ways you can use your router to see which devices are connected to your home network.

    Router status light

    When there are devices connected to your router, the status lights on the device should flicker. Therefore, it makes sense that you can turn off your internet-connected devices to check if there are any unauthorized users on your network.

    To do this, put all of your devices on airplane mode or shut them down entirely. Once theyre offline, check your router and see if there are any lights still flashing. If so, you may have a hacked router or a neighbor using your network.

    Router app

    Many routers sold today come with a smartphone app, which you can use to set up your internet and manage your account. In most cases, these apps will also include a feature that lets you view all of the devices connected to the router.

    To use this option, log into your router app and look for the list of connected devices. Its location will depend on your specific router, but it may be called a clients or network log. Once youve found it, sort through the devices and see if there are any that you dont recognize.

    Checking your admin control and network map

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    How To Delete Devices Off Your Wi

    If youve discovered that someone is using your internet without permission, you should cut off their access as quickly as possible.

    The simplest way to do this is by changing the password to your router, which you can do once youve logged into the router control panel . Once youve done that, every device on the network will be prompted to re-enter the password.

    If possible, you should also upgrade the security system on your router to WPA2 or higher.

    Ways Your Neighbor Can Connect To Your Wifi Network

    There are a handful of ways an unauthorized person can connect to a wireless router. By far the most common method of stealing WiFi is to get the password in some way or another.

    If youre like most people, you probably dont have a confidential relationship with all your neighbors and you dont know their skills either.

    Therefore, I suggest you prepare for the worst scenario, which is that your neighbor has the skills to break into a poorly protected network.

    Lets see the most common ways one can gain access to your private home network:

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    Putting It All Together

    Securing your WiFi network is highly important. When someone has access to your WiFi, the main problem is not that you might experience internet slowdown.

    The real issue is that your private digital assets are at risk, including all the data that you store on your hard drive. Everything that you do online becomes visible and an experienced hacker can even get your accounts login credentials, including highly sensitive information.

    The solution is pretty simple: use a really strong password and keep it secret. In addition, secure your network by applying the above-mentioned suggestions. It takes only a few minutes but you can save yourself a lot of annoyance, time, and even money in the long run.

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    Using The Wps Function Of Your Router

    How to Know If Someone Is Stealing Your WiFi

    Most wireless routers feature WPS and in most cases, its enabled by default.

    WPS offers a convenient solution to connect wireless devices to the router. You just have to push a button or enter an 8-digit PIN to create a connection.

    So despite having a strong password, it can be easily bypassed by a PIN code that takes orders of magnitude less time to figure out.

    Therefore, my advice is that you never keep WPS enabled if you want to prevent unauthorized devices from accessing your wireless network.

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    Check The Devices Associated With Your Router

    This method is 100% guaranteed to see any devices registered on your network, but not every router contains this valuable info. Log in to your router by typing it’s IP address directly into the browser address bar. In most setups, either or should work, or it may be written on the router itself, along with the username and password you need to log in with. If you can’t find a password anywhere, and don’t remember changing it, then check the database of default passwords here, or phone your ISP .

    Once logged in, look around a section called Attached Devices or Device List. On DD-WRT flashed routers, this is under the Status -> Wireless screen. You will find a list of all the IP addresses currently being used.

    On my standard Virgin Media router, I found a list under the IP filtering section.

    Of course, not all your devices will have helpful names, so you’ll need to figure out the IP address of each computer and WiFi device you own in order to cross-check them against the list. Don’t forget that an iPhone or Android phone will also have it’s own IP address if it’s using your WiFi, so you’ll need to account for those too.

    By the way, we’ve also shown how to change your Wi-Fi password if you’d like to enforce better security.

    How To Protect Your Wi

    RELATED: 5 essential router security settings to check now

    Go to your router manufacturers website to make changes. If you do have a password, this is a good time to change it. Then, take these extra steps to keep strangers from accessing your Wi-Fi. Log onto your router, then, turn on your routers encryption.

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    The Proof Is In Your Router

    If your internet connection feels slower than usual, you might suspect someone is using up your bandwidth through Wi-Fi. But slow internet is no proof: There could be many other reasons why your internet is slow. The only surefire way to see if someone is using your Wi-Fi is by looking at a list of connected devices in your router or Wi-Fi access points interface.


    To do so, youll need to consult your routers documentation on how to access the routers configuration interface. Almost all consumer routers provide access through a web browser at a special, local-only address , and others even provide access through mobile apps.


    Once youve logged in to your router, youll need to find where it lists devices that are connected to your Wi-Fi network. This can commonly be found under options such as Status,Wireless Status, or Traffic Control, among others.

    Since there is no standard router interface, the path to find the list of connected devices may vary dramatically between router vendors. Well just use a Synology routers interface as an example. In this router, you can see a list of devices by clicking Network Center, then selecting Traffic Control in the sidebar.


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