Do you suspect your neighbor is using your wireless Internet connection? Perhaps your internet connection is slower than it should be, or your devices keep disconnecting from the router. Someone connected to your wireless router can also access the shared folders on your network, so data theft is a real threat. Fortunately, there are ways to detect unknown connections to your network and prevent them from connecting.
The main defense against wireless intruders is securing your wireless router. Even though most wireless routers from ISPs come with long passwords, someone can gain access by simply copying the password printed on your wireless router as most people don’t change the default password set by their ISP.
If you have a router that you bought yourself, no one can use the password stored on the router unless you change the default password. We will talk about all this below. Let’s talk first about how to detect wireless leeches.
Detect unauthorized wireless communications
There are basically two ways to detect all devices connected to your wireless router: either check the router itself, or use a device already connected to the network to scan the entire network. I prefer the second method because it is less complicated, however I will mention both methods.
The first step is to connect to your wireless router using a web browser. To do this, you need to enter the IP address of your router. If you don’t know this, read my post on determining the IP of your wireless router After that, you will need to login using your username and password.
If you don’t remember the password or have never changed the default password, this is a problem. In any of these cases, I recommend resetting your wireless router to factory defaults and starting from scratch. This may seem like a daunting task, but it really isn’t.
First, read my post on resetting your wireless router, which is pretty easy to do. Then don’t worry if you don’t have any more documents for the router, because you can find the default password on the router itself, or you can find the default passwords on the Internet.
Once you are able to log into your router, you can check which IP addresses have been allocated on the network. Usually this information is located somewhere on the main page and can be called “Devices”, “My network”, “IP address allocation”, “Connected devices”, “Wireless status”, “Connected devices”, “DHCP clients table “And so on. It really depends on your router. but you should see a list similar to the one below.
Most newer routers will show you the device names as well, so it’s easy to tell if a device is a phone, tablet, printer, IP camera, NAS, streaming device, laptop, or computer. If you can’t figure out which device is associated with an IP address, you can always try pasting that IP address into your web browser and see if it loads a web page. Some printers, cameras, etc. will have their own web interfaces that can be connected through a browser.
If all this is too complicated, another way to find connected clients is to use a smartphone app. For Apple devices, I recommend Net Analyzer Lite and Fing Network Scanner Fing is also available on the Google Play store.
These applications are actually better than most of the time accessing the router directly, because they can provide you with additional information about the device. Fing can even detect if you have a console online, which is pretty cool.
It should now be fairly easy to find a device that is not supposed to be connected to your network. If so, what can you do? Keep reading to find out how to secure your wireless network.
The first step you should take if you think your network has been compromised is to completely reset your router as mentioned earlier, or buy a new router if the current one is old. If someone was able to connect to your wireless router, they could also hack into the router and could monitor all network activity.
The next step is to log into your router and immediately change the default login for the router. Many people think that all they need is to set a strong Wi-Fi password, but this is not the case. It is true that in order for someone to log into your router, it must first be connected to a wireless network. However, in many cases, guests you cannot completely trust need to connect to your wireless network for a short time.
Once connected, if they are a hacker type, they can try to connect to your router and try the default username and password to login. If you’ve never changed it, they can now access your router and take full control of your WiFi network. So change your router password immediately.
If you can also change your username, do so. Admin is the most common username on routers and changing it makes it much more difficult to gain access to your router. If you have a wireless router from an ISP, the username and password for the administrator interface of the router are also printed directly on the device, so be sure to change the default values.
You will have to dig through the various settings and configuration pages as these options are located in different places from different vendors. Now that you have changed your router login information, the next step is to configure the security of your wireless network.
WPA / WPA2
WPA / WPA2
There are currently three main ways to secure your router: choosing between WEP, WPA, and WPA2 encryption, disabling SSID broadcasting, and enabling wireless MAC authentication. I’m firmly convinced that you really only need to use long key WPA2 encryption to be very secure, but some people like to take extra precautions and it can be worth the extra effort if your devices have very sensitive information. P>
Some routers make this easy for you, such as the Verizon FIOS Router Advanced Security page shown above. Whenever possible, use only WPA2. WEP is very insecure and WPA is quite easy to crack. If you have devices on your network that cannot connect after setting up WPA2, you should choose the option with WPA + WPA2 Personal. Make sure you choose a long password. Note that this is not necessarily a collection of random numbers, symbols, or letters for protection. A strong password just needs to be a long passphrase.
If you followed the steps above by resetting your router, setting up an administrator password and using WPA2, you can be sure that anyone who was previously connected to your wireless network is now disconnected.
If you want to go further, you can read my post on disabling SSID broadcast, but that doesn’t make your network more secure. Enabling MAC address filtering will make your network more secure, but it will make everything much less convenient. Every time you want to connect a new device to your network, you will need to find its MAC address, log into your router and add it to the filtering list.
In conclusion, if you suspect unusual activity on your network, you should immediately follow the steps above. Chances are, someone might be spying on your computer if it’s connected to your network, so it’s best to play it safe. If you have any questions, please leave a comment. Enjoy!