How to Check If Someone is Stealing Your Wi-Fi
There is always data whizzing around through the airwaves. Technologies like wireless routers and hotspots have meant that any place you happen to be in, can be converted into a Wi-Fi zone. This can be at your favorite hangout, the library or even the airport.
Majority of people in the world have Wi-Fi at home now with multiple devices connected to it. For those living in apartments, this can lead to airwaves interference with neighbors and for those without proper security, people could easily piggyback onto your Wi-Fi and steal your bandwidth. In rare cases, they could even get into your network and steal information.
First, a little information on how the wireless network works. The network consists of an internet connection through a modem which is then connected to a wireless router. The router transmits signals and creates a Local Area Network (LAN) with your devices like computers, laptops, smartphones, etc. The router also generates a Dynamic Host Client Protocol (DHCP) table which refers to the list of connected devices. Each device will have a MAC address and using this, the router assigns the devices an IP address.
Detecting Wi-Fi squatters
The MAC and IP address can be used to check if someone is stealing your Wi-Fi. If you see a device transmitting a different ID than yours, you know there is someone squatting on your data. Alternatively, you could shut off all your devices and if your router lights still blink, it’s a sure sign of a squatter online. There are some apps available that can help in this regard too.
Securing your Wi-Fi
Strong passwords can solve 99.9% of the problems of Wi-Fi squatters. This will mean reauthorizing all your connected devices of course, but at least you can rest assured your bandwidth is safe from squatters. Do ensure that it’s a complicated password without any obvious names or numbers in it. Also known as Wi-Fi Protected Access (WAP2), it is the most basic type of encryption protocol to protect your Wi-Fi from squatters. Aside from this, you will need to change your router’s login information too. With these changes, you can keep virtually any squatter from ever attempting to piggyback on your Wi-Fi!