Fast speed Internet and unlimited access to WiFi, these are nothing less than a heaven for us. Although all of us have cellular data for when we are outside our homes or while travelling, we want to come back to the WiFi in our homes as soon as possible.
Why? Because of faster Internet and unlimited data access. But wait. What if it’s not only you who is using your WiFi? This article will help you determine if someone is stealing your WiFi.
One very obvious symptom of the stolen WiFi network is slow internet connectivity and buffering even when not too many devices are connected to your WiFi.
So read through this article and get rid of all these issues once and for all. Here we will help you know if someone is stealing your WiFi and how to deal with the issue. Read on!
WPA2 WiFi networks are prone to hacking
This is no surprise that WiFi hackers are found almost everywhere. And although it’s not always a big deal, sometimes it can be really problematic. Especially if the person using your WiFi is involved in any illegal activity.
Although we have been warned plenty of times against using public WiFi networks, if truth be told, all WPA2 WiFi networks are prone to hacking.
Many of us know about the WPA2 and it has been the safest option for our WiFi networks before WPA3 came. Although WPA3 networks are safest, they aren’t in everyone’s reach yet. And as a result, most of us are stuck with WPA2 networks.
Though something is always better than nothing, there are some flaws in WPA2 networks that we need to know about.
Mathy Vanhoef is a security expert at Belgian University KU Leuven who discovered the flaws in the wireless security protocol WPA2 back in 2017.
He explained in his report, “Attackers can use this novel attack technique to read the information that was previously assumed to be safely encrypted.”
He further explains the danger of this security loophole, “This can be abused to steal sensitive information such as credit card numbers, passwords, chat messages, emails, photos and so on.”
Although home WiFi is still very difficult to secure completely, you can make it less vulnerable by following some basic tips. The first step is to make sure your WiFi network is not being stolen.
WPA3 is the latest and safest option for all which considerably safer than WPA2 encrypted networks but we might have to wait just a little bit longer for it to become as common.
Determine if someone is stealing your WiFi
If someone using your WiFi is involved in a criminal act, it will be your IP address that will be traced to the illegal activity. So better take the first step towards security and determine if someone is stealing your data or not.
The very basic method to do this is to first unplug or turn off all the WiFi devices in your house. Now take a look at the wireless signal light on your router. Is it still flickering? If yes, then someone is probably using your WiFi without your permission.
But if it’s not possible to turn off all the WiFi connected devices at the same time, we have other methods for you as well. Check out two useful methods to determine this.
Method one- Use apps
There are some very useful apps out there to help you know if unwanted devices are connected to your router or not. These apps can provide some important clues to your problems and help you know if someone is stealing your WiFi or not.
The WiFi thief detector- This app can be helpful in spotting the unwanted devices connected to your WiFi. It will show you exactly how many devices are currently connected to your router and spot them for you.
Once that is done, it will connect you with your router settings so that you can make necessary changes to protect your WiFi.
Paessler PRTG Network Monitor- This is one of the best ways to find out everything about your WiFi network. Paessler’s full website will help you in the automatic detection of strange traffic and analyse how that network is being used.
This is considered best for small businesses who face the issue of random users hopping in on their network.
F-secure Router Checker- This is another web-based tool which is very helpful if someone is trying to hijack your Internet for more than mere surfing.
Wireless Network Watcher- An independent software, Wireless Network Watcher is an especially designed software for Windows and macOS users. It will watch out for any kind of suspicious wireless activity. It also monitors all the currently connected devices.
Fling- Fling is more focused on android users. This will help you see the connected devices immediately. Moreover, it allows you to see the types of devices, the nature of their connection, their MAC address and many other things.
Method two- Administrator logs
Before we go on to explain how to use administrator logs, we will first explain what they are. Administrator logs generally contain the information about the use of your system.
So if you have your suspicions about someone stealing your WiFi, you can simply log in to your router’s administration page to know all about it.
Most of you can do this by typing 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.2.1 into the address bar.
Now the next step is to find that page which lists the various Media Access Control (MAC) addresses connected to your computer.
This list will tell you how many devices are connected to your Internet. Now suppose you have only five devices in your home that are connected to your network.
In that case, you will see five MAC addresses. In case you see more than five MAC addresses, then someone is probably using your WiFi.
Prevent someone from stealing your WiFi
Okay, so now you have finally determined that indeed someone is stealing your WiFi and now you want to get rid of them obviously.
Passwords are the very first step towards a safer WiFi. Don’t ever leave the WiFi password and username unchanged. Always change them to something new every once in a while. Changing your password periodically is your safest bet.
And as generic as it may sound, make stronger, hard to crack passwords. Most of the times, people get access to your WiFi merely by guessing it.
And the next step is to make sure you don’t have a WEP encryption as those are not safe. Currently, WPA3 is the strongest available wireless network encryption.
And in case you are going to be getting new router and WiFi, or devices, opt for WiFi 6 as it comes with automatic WPA3 encryption. Most of us are currently using WPA2 network encryptions. As mentioned earlier, those aren’t as safe.
WPA3 is the latest and safest bet for a safer WiFi experience. The only issue is that it isn’t as much in use yet. But within no time, we will have a much safer WiFi at our homes.
Remove unwanted connections from your WiFi
Now, all we talked about so far are about preventing and checking whether there are strangers stealing your WiFi or not. And now that you have confirmed your WiFi is being illegally used, let’s talk about getting rid of these unwanted guests.
Passwords again play an important role here. Once you change your password, a stranger will not be able to access your WiFi until he cracks your new password. So keep changing password and router’s name.
Now for the more serious part… What if even changing the password doesn’t help?
In this case, you should go the administrator logs and look for MAC addresses. Here you can manually add or remove MAC addresses, hence unwanted connections fro your network.
To do this, open the administrator log first. Now navigate to the page which says something like MAC filtering or Device filtering.
Here you can look up the unwanted MAC addresses and add them to a list of blocked devices. Now your router won’t allow these blocked MAC addresses to access your WiFi. This isn’t totally foolproof but works in the most number of cases.
Now if you can’t get rid of an unwanted intruder even after this, it’s time to call for expert’s help. Call for the help of your service provider as the first step. In extreme cases, don’t hesitate to take help from Police or cybercrime task force.
So hope this article helped you with your problems. Stay safe.
Until next time!