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Thursday, October 6, 2011

How to Detect if Someone's Stealing Your WiFi


Okay, it's time to get down to it. Is your wireless network running slowly? Do you have intermittent losses in Internet access and you can't figure out why? Chances are, you've already detected a WiFi squatter and didn't even know it. If you regularly experience these problems, maybe you have something wrong with your wireless connection. But if you're suddenly having intermittent problems with your Internet performance, especially at the same time each day, it's a red flag that someone is piggybacking off your wireless connection and it's time for you to diagnose your WiFi network.
The first and simplest thing you can do is check out your wireless network connection and see if it's secure. When you install your router, you're given the option of setting a wireless encryption protocol (WEP) key. Basically this is a password-protected method for you to log on to your own wireless network. If you don't have one, you're operating an open network. That means anyone within range can use your wireless for free. While it's not hacking, it is debatable as to whether this is actually stealing. In any case, if you don't have a WEP key, you're vulnerable to WiFi squatting and certainly not deterring squatters.
Even if you have a WEP key, that doesn't necessarily mean your neighbor hasn't bypassed it. To determine if he or she is logging onto your wireless network, you can do so by checking your wireless network log. To do this, click your Start Menu in Microsoft Windows, then double-click My Network Places. Next, double-click View Entire Network. If there are more devices connected than you have allowed on your network, you have WiFi thieves.
A similar method to determining the status of your WiFi user list is to check your router's DHCP client table. Much like viewing your network, your DHCP client table will list the machines on your network. If the number exceeds what you've set up, you have someone stealing your WiFi.
Nobody wants to be taken advantage of. What's more, you certainly don't want illegal information flowing through your wireless network. That's why you need to take matters in your own hands.

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