When more number of devices are connected to a wi-fi network, the speed of the network might most probably slow down.
If you feel that your wi-fi network speed is bogged down, there are plenty of chances that someone else is using your wifi.
It is not only your network at stake but also some of your files and information, depending on your security settings that are at stake.
If the moocher who steals your wifi is despicable, beware, you might be caught for nefarious felony, since your IP address will be traced down.
Okay, I don’t want to terrorize you. Here is a simple guide to find whether wicked ones are stealing your wi-fi, how to spot them and how to stop them.
Before you move on to what to do, you need to know some little basics. Don’t worry; definitely not rocket science but just two terms; IP address and MAC address.
To make a connection of your device with a network, you need data transfer to be done from hardware to software and vice-versa.
Both your hardware and software must work together, for a network connection. To put in a simple way, IP (Internet Protocol) address is a set of regulations that allows two devices to communicate.
Simply, take is a software part of identification. Similarly, each device has a MAC address (Media Access Control) which is a unique number used to identify the device that is connected to a network.
Take it as the hardware part. A techie knows much better, but for laymen, this would do.
How to spot moochers
This guide will present to you three easy ways to know whether someone is using your wi-fi.
Note the router’s lights
You might have noticed that your wi-fi router has different lights that indicate network connection, device addition, etc.
Turn off wi-fi in all the devices at your home, and turn on the wi-fi router. If you still find a light blinking that indicates a connection, then it is more likely that someone is using your wi-fi.
The old Sherlock Holmes way, but it works in most cases.
Try the Fing app
‘Fing’ is app that easily helps you to find who is stealing your wi-fi.
Download the app from Google PlayStore and install it in your mobile or in your computer, if it has windows 8 or 10. Connect your mobile or PC to the wi-fi.
The app will show a list of devices with Refresh and Settings options. To begin with, select ‘Refresh’, after a few minutes, you’ll see a list of devices that are connected to the wifi.
It also indicates whether it’s a phone or a PC. Click the device that you find not yours and suspicious, you’ll be provided with options to interact with the device including ping and log.
Also it will show you the MAC address of device. Note it down.
If you don’t find the app useful, copy your router’s IP address and paste in the URL bar in a browser. To know the IP address of your Wi-fi router, connect a laptop to your wi-fi connection.
Open command prompt ( Press windows key and R together, and then type cmd in the dialogue box) and type ‘ipconfig’. Note the IP address of your Wi-fi router.
Once you paste your IP address in the browser, you’ll be enabled to login using admin name and password. If the password fields are empty, create a new and strong password once you login, before a hacker does.
It will show a Device List or Attached Devices (different routers have different name), with the device’s MAC address, in which you can identify the moocher’s device.
How to stop moochers
Different people might suggest ways. But one efficient way to block other from using your wi-fi, is to filter their device’s MAC address.
Once you’ve logged in the administrative console using your wi-fi router’s IP address, you’ll see an option called “MAC Filtering”, under Security pane.
Enter the MAC address of the device you want to block and save it. This will prevent the hacker from illegally use your wi-fi from that device.
If he tries to use your Wi-fi through another device, you have got to identify the MAC address of the new device and filter it, i.e. you have got to do the procedure once again.
Whether someone steals your wi-fi or not, you must ensure that your wi-fi is protected. Use WPA or WPA2 encryption rather than the lesser secure WEP or WPS.
Check your wi-fi router’s settings, to know which encryption you are using.
Also protect you wi-fi with a strong password, of about 15 characters long and make it a mixture of uppercase and lowercase alphabets, so that it is not easily hacked.
There might be cases, when no one is stealing your wi-fi and still you have a slow connection.
In such cases, find how to boost your wi-fi connection rather than throwing your time in detecting the so suspected wi-fi moochers.
2 thoughts on “How to tell if someone is stealing your wifi and what to do about it?”
Glad to know you also write on Tech stuff.
I hate it when my neighbors use my WiFi, although I have put a password on, but they get password from my dad, it is always like irritating.
Is there any method to completely hide WiFi network from my neighbors?
Very well described and all above mentioned steps very useful actually to secure our WI-FI Network……!!
Thanks once again for this informative post.