Tech Tip: Check If Someone Is Using Your Wi-Fi

By on September 28, 2011, 12:23 AM

There are many reasons why you'd want to check if an unauthorized party is using your wireless network. It may be that you're experiencing a slow Internet connection or you simply don't want anyone getting a free ride while you pay the bill. Of course, there are also security implications if this person can somehow access files on your network, and even legal implications if he uses your connection for piracy or other illicit activities.

Whatever the case it's better to stay on the safe side. Many of you may have already taken some basic precautions when setting up your wireless network and know your way around troubleshooting these issues.

This brief guide is aimed at novice users in need a hand to find out if their Wi-Fi is being stolen. We've also thrown in a couple of suggestions on how to get something in return if you don't actually mind sharing your Wi-Fi.

Read the complete article.




User Comments: 20

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Per Hansson Per Hansson, TS Server Guru, said:

As an addition to the article you can use this free MAC Address lookup tool to see which manufacturer created the device, this might help you narrow down your choices (Like if it says Nokia or the likes you know it's a mobile user etc...)

http://www.coffer.com/mac_find/

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Nice guide, I had an issue recently, in that BT in the UK allow anyone to connect to your homehub as it acts as a public and private WiFi hotspot!

I just canceled the contract and went to a different provider, bought an expensive Netgear Router and now we have only one SSID, it is Hidden, WPA2-PSK Personal and Locked down to only the MAC addresses of the devices in our house. WPS is disabled as well in-case we have a party and someone thinks its funny to press the WPS button the router to try and gain access all the while I have a Watchguard x750e Proffessional Firewall keeping everything safe, this is a bit overboard but its more for studying and testing perposes than protecting our house from hackers

Guest said:

Great article! I would definitely use MoocherHunter just to intimidate the guy!!

"I'll be like hey whatsup. Ready to get sued?"

TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Per Hansson said:

As an addition to the article you can use this free MAC Address lookup tool to see which manufacturer created the device, this might help you narrow down your choices (Like if it says Nokia or the likes you know it's a mobile user etc...)

http://www.coffer.com/mac_find/

Also if you are running DD-WRT firmware you should be able to click on the MAC Address and it will look it up for you, giving you manufature info.

stewi0001 stewi0001 said:

thanks for the useful article

anyone else have anything else to add?

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

The UI is different for almost every router.

My little Cisco at home looks nothing like that, and if I was computer ilitterate a single guide on how to use Netgears software would not help me. Just saying.

Jose, your intentions are good though.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

LMFAO... you could always just secure your network properly from the beginning.

matrix86 matrix86 said:

In my apartment, the SSD is hidden, password protected with WPA/WPA2 PSK, the number of devices able to connect to the router is limited to the number of devices in my apartment, and the only devices that can connect are ones that have their MAC addresses keyed into the router. So someone would need to be pretty desperate to get onto my router. It'd be easier for them to just hack into all the other ones around me, lol.

Butch said:

Man, I hope my neighbor doesn't see this article...

tonylukac said:

Many cheap chinese routers don't list the devices using the router. Two of those that I have/had don't, except until I ugraded the firmware on the one.

aj_the_kidd said:

tonylukac said:

Many cheap chinese routers don't list the devices using the router. Two of those that I have/had don't, except until I ugraded the firmware on the one.

You get what you pay for

TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Its amazing the number of people who don't secure their WiFi at all. Last weekend I went on a short trip and got kinda turned around. I pulled out my laptop in a residential neighborhood and found about a dozen WiFi connections, half of which were wide open, and of the ones that were secured only one didn't use WEP. All had SSID broadcast on.

I do like how some of the newer routers will practically setup your WiFi security for you. Thats very nice for computer illiterate people.

But in close pack areas you really need to be careful about your WiFi protection. An aunt of mine was accused of all sorts of illegal active. Turns out it was her neighbor swiping her WiFi.

grvalderrama said:

Hopefully, my neighbour will never read this post =P

Guest said:

To those who posted that are using WPA2 PSK, I sure hope you realize that WPA2 AES is stronger.

Guest said:

"To those who posted that are using WPA2 PSK, I sure hope you realize that WPA2 AES is stronger."

Uh, PSK is pre-shared key, which means you give the same sequence of characters to all the devices. AES (technically it's not even AES, it's CCMP) is one of the ciphers you can use in PSK mode (and EAP mode), TKIP is the other one, and it's TKIP that is insecure.

I've found that the best security I can achieve on a wireless network is to use WPA2 CCMP Enterprise with EAP-TLS authentication. Connecting clients need a signed TLS certificate. This allows you to issue and revoke certificates as needed to allow devices on and then disallow them from connecting in future, without having to change the details on any other device.

akonobi said:

I know a guy who does network security monitoring and he says that a lot of times people crack private networks illegally using a special adapter called an Alfa adapter. I also read here that this adapter is the wifi adapter of choice for "war driving." The funny thing is that he uses the same adapter for his work.

Guest said:

Also, a good Penitration testing tool is Backtrack Linux and you can boot it rom CD to.

and good guide!

HuntForTheWOrst said:

Pfft I have a bell password good luck guessing that.

jobeard jobeard, TS Ambassador, said:

You might find inSSIDER to be useful; it's windows compatible and does not require a standalone boot to allow WiFi Monitoring.

It shows what SSIDs are within reach, not which systems are attached to your router however.

see MetaGeek-inSSIDer

Guest said:

Thanks dude!!!

it worked for me.

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