General Question

guywithanaccountnow's avatar

How can you tell if someone's using your wifi?

Asked by guywithanaccountnow (313 points ) May 24th, 2012

I mean besides if your computer is running slowly, because I already know that’s a sign someone may be.

I don’t want to know about how to secure your network, I’m just wondering how someone whose network was unsecured could tell if someone was using their wifi, if there is any way other than seeing that your computer is lagging.

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8 Answers

Lightlyseared's avatar

Your router should be able to display the MAC address (each wifi device has a unique MAC address like it’s own telephone number) of all the devices currently connected to it, some can even list all the devices that have ever been connected. If you know the MAC address’s of your devices (they are often written on the back of the device) then you can very easily spot if someone elses devices are connected. Even better, some routers allow you to control access based on MAC addresses so you can limit access to your own devices and your router will completely ignore everything else.

RocketGuy's avatar

Rude sneaks will change the password on a non-password-protected router so that you cannot get in and find out.

Charles's avatar

Rude sneaks will change the password on a non-password-protected router so that you cannot get in and find out.

You can always do a hard reset by holding the reset button down for several seconds. Then, you can resecure your router.

RocketGuy's avatar

Yep, that’s what I did. My bro in-law set up the router and told me that password was not necessary – ha!

whitenoise's avatar

The best thing you can do is secure your access point / router and then not care about it anymore.

Remeber that your computer is less protected against hacking from people that are on your home network than it is against hackers from outside (the Internet). Although the latter group is of course bigger and therefore may be a more serious threat, still.

CWOTUS's avatar

With my NetGear router, I can log in to the router (you know how to do that, right?) and there’s a menu choice for “connected devices”. I can see that my laptop, iPod and tablet are all connected – and nothing else, exactly as planned.

mazingerz88's avatar

@CWOTUS I also have a Netgear router…so how do you log in to it, if you don’t mind, thanks!

CWOTUS's avatar

The easiest way is via a browser link. (In fact, that’s the only way I know of.)

Rather than have me try to tell you from memory how I do it on my router (since I’m not at home now, and our routers may differ anyway), here is the link to the Netgear page of model-by-model instructions.

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