Due to how suspicious I was about why my internet connectivity became suddenly slow, I couldn’t help but find out the problem. It was discovered that there were people connected to the Wi-Fi connection that I hadn’t authorized. With the help of professionals and research, I found out how to stop someone from using my Wi-Fi connection.
To stop someone from using your Wi-Fi, it is essential first to identify the authorized connected devices and then spot the intruder. The next step is to disconnect the unauthorized devices by putting them on a blacklist, a MAC address filtering, or simply changing the router’s password.
So, if you are convinced that there are intruders connected to your Wi-Fi connection, then this post is for you. It covers the ways of stopping someone from using your Wi-Fi connection, how to identify intruders, tips on preventing someone from joining your Wi-Fi connection and more. Keep reading for more info!
Ways of Stopping Someone from Using your Wi-Fi Connection
Once you have identified that someone may be using your internet connection or even suspect such a case, there are ways to handle it. In this section are several solutions that you could use in ensuring that there are no intruders on your Wi-Fi connection.
Check the solutions out below:
Solution One: Wireless MAC Address Filtering
MAC address filtering is an effective way to stop unauthorized users from getting connected to your wireless connection. In this case, a MAC stands for a “Media Access Control,” You would find this as hardware that comes with an identification number.
You can use this to identify each network that is connected to a network. The MAC address is usually manufactured along with whatever network card you have, and it can’t be duplicated on any two devices. So no one has similar MAC addresses. This identification is a way that you could use in stopping any unauthorized user from using your Wi-Fi.
As the owner of the network card, you can instruct your router only to allow a particular device(s) and deny others. So, with the proper steps, you can determine who connects to your Wi-Fi.
Here are the steps to follow:
- Step one: The first step in this solution is to log into your router access point’s control panel.
- Step two: Here, you have to get to the WLAN or wireless section found on your dashboard. It is in this section that you would find the Media Access Control (MAC) filtering option.
- Step three: At this step, you have to verify if the filtering function has been disabled. In any case that it has been disabled, then change it to “enabled.”
- Step five: Now, you are to get to the area that covers the devices added to your MAC address list. From there, you can select the devices you want to allow to have access to your router’s network. Also, you are to ensure that you also revoke the access of any unauthorized user connected to the Wi-Fi.
Certain routers easily allow you to choose or unselect the devices that can remain connected or get added to your MAC address list.
Solution two: Try a Direct Blacklist
Certain Wi-Fi routers would allow you to block any connected device that you do not recognize regarding the MAC address list. They usually come with a blacklist section that functions with the click of a button while connected to your dashboard. However, this would vary from the routers you have as their process differs but has the same results.
No matter the router that you have in your home or wherever the Wi-Fi is connected, the blacklist section is always under “Device Management.” The section is at the access point of your control panel, dashboard, or whatever section that would help you list the devices connected to your router. You would find the “block user” button or a button that performs similar functions in the area.
Apart from using the Media Access Control (MAC) in taking out unauthorized users from your Wi-Fi, this is another method of doing the same job. Sometimes, this method has come up to be much more effective than MAC filtering. The reason for this is that a device’s MAC address cannot be changed, modified, or spoofed.
Solution three: Going Through Mobile Application
If your Wi-Fi or router is one that you want to control remotely, then there are ways that you could achieve this. The easiest way you could use in blocking unrecognized or unauthorized users from connecting to your Wi-Fi is through third-party network tools. These tools can be installed from your application store directly to your mobile devices.
For the application to control your router remotely, they have to be downloaded in whatever router you intend to handle. Some of them have been available for both Android and iOS devices, and among the features is the ability to block out unauthorized devices with your mobile devices.
Apart from that, there is also a wide range of control and but here is what the third-party applications can do for you when it comes to controlling those who use your Wi-Fi:
- You can block any unrecognized device or simply intruders even before they get to be part of your address list.
- The third-party application automatically sends you a notification whenever a new device is connected to your network. This way, it makes it easy for you to identify an intruder connected to your Wi-Fi.
- You can easily view all the devices connected to your network and then choose who should be left connected.
- Apart from blacklisting, the third-party application lets you run a real-time internet speed analysis and if you notice slow-paced connectivity. This could a number of users are now connected to the Wi-Fi, and you can use this to detect unauthorized and take necessary steps.
- You can also run other diagnostics on the Wi-Fi and go ahead to troubleshoot with the help of the third-party applications on your mobile phones.
- The applications give you access to the network recognition features such as the IP address, connected device names, MAC address, and more. Features like the MAC address can allow you to control the devices connected to your Wi-Fi.
- Lastly, it provides you with network and security alerts about the nature of your Wi-Fi, allowing you to know when there is an intruder.
Once you have your mobile control, these features can help you in monitoring those that are connected to your Wi-Fi connection.
How To Detect When Someone Is Using Your Wi-Fi and Precautions To Take
Before you can stop someone from using your Wi-Fi who you haven’t authorized, there is a need to identify the devices connected. However, you could do things to help you in detecting what devices are connected to your router.
Here are ways you could detect an unauthorized user and precautions you could take:
Check out for connected in the mobile app.
As has been highlighted previously, there are routers that come with a feature that lets them connect to mobile apps. For this case, they have a section dedicated to viewing all the devices connected to your Wi-Fi. You can get the hang of this feature by going through the router’s manual that comes with the purchase.
Once the app has been set up on your mobile device, find the menu that says “connected devices” or anything that covers the same scope. All the devices are currently connected to your devices, and once you can identify the ones you have authorized, then it becomes easy to spot the intruder.
However, this identification method may not be available to you if you do not have a modern router with this feature. Some of the older models come with a web portal that serves the same function as the mobile application, so you can log into your account and see those that are connected.
In all, if you are still met with any problems while searching for the connected devices, then you can manually find the access instructions for your Wi-Fi. As a precaution, you must constantly make this check to keep the devices connected to your Wi-Fi within your authorization.
Check for IP addresses.
This is similar to the previous one but goes a bit deeper as it comes with a distinct method of identifying unknown devices. If there is someone connected to your Wi-Fi, you can find them out through their IP address.
The IP address of each device is as distinct as the Media Access Control (MAC), and so if you are already conversant with the devices connected, you would identify a strange IP address.
However, there is a possibility that the device connected may seem not to be consuming data, but that does not justify them staying on your Wi-Fi. Pay close attention and disable them immediately you recognize that you have an unverified device. It could be a possible security breach that you do not want to linger for long or even hinder the speed of the internet.
Check the strength of the Password.
It is usually advisable that you have a password that others cannot easily gain access to. Instead of using your birth age or common information that can be easily gotten, go for something more unpredictable. The unpredictability of the password would ensure that the Wi-Fi is secure enough not to let anyone who you have not authorized as part of the connected devices.
Asides from that, an open network is free to anyone within the range and so takes away your ability to control those connected to the Wi-Fi. In this case, they do not even have to guess or steal your password.
As a precaution, you can also make it a duty to change the password to your Wi-Fi after a while, and so any intruder is automatically taken out. With this, you can be sure that your connected devices are within your authorization list.
Find out how if it is the latest version
Using obsolete network software is prone to be hacked or welcomes intruders much easily. So, for you to detect that someone else is using your Wi-Fi, just look at the version and then check for the devices connected.
To fix this, you would need to look for software and firmware updates that would bring you up to the latest standards. Always apply the updates and then run update checks to know if there are updates.
What Are The Risks of Having Unauthorized Users On Your Wi-Fi?
Once unauthorized users get on your Wi-Fi connection, it becomes hard to predict what they would do with that. Some steal your personal information and cause more damaging issues than just surfing the internet. In this section are some of the things that could happen when someone steals into your Wi-Fi connection.
Here are some of the things that could happen:
Once your neighbors or anyone who hasn’t been authorized uses your Wi-Fi connection, then their activities during that period are linked to you. So, there is a possibility that they could conduct illegal activities using the connection, which is then linked to your router. Other times they could even gain access to your personal files, monitor, and then capture your web traffic.
This is somehow close to piggybacking but takes more effort to achieve. Note, the broadcast range of some wireless connectivity could sometimes get to the streets or out of your specified area.
In this regard, anyone who is conversant with such connectivity might find it a hobby to connect to connections around the neighborhood. This practice is wardriving, and so you have to ensure that you are well protected from such situations.
Evil Twin Attacks
In this kind of situation, the person could gain access to your wireless connection and then begin to impersonate you. The perpetrator could make use of a broadcast signal that is stronger than the one that you have and then connect to your Wi-Fi connection. Since you cannot tell how strong their broadcast signal is, this makes it important that you constantly check the connected devices.
Note, there are other risks asides from the one that is here.
Tips On Preventing Someone From Using Your Wi-Fi Unauthorized
If you do not want just any random person gaining access to your Wi-Fi connection, there are certain things that cannot be overemphasized. There is a simple process that you could use in securing your connection.
Here are some of the tips:
- Don’t leave the default passwords: Most routers originally come with default browsers, and they are predictable. So, to keep the risk of an intruder getting on your Wi-Fi connection, then make sure that you change the password to something different.
- Never forget to filter the MAC addresses: Every device that is connected to your wireless connection has a distinct MAC address. As has been highlighted earlier, ensure that you filter them from time to time to ensure that only authorized users can have access. You can utilize this by taking advantage of the guest account feature.
- Encrypt all data available on your network: This option keeps you protected from anyone that finally steals their way into your wireless connection. There are several encryption protocols that could help in securing your data. The Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA), WPA2, and WPA3 are options for you to check out, but the WPA3 has proven to be the strongest option.
- Take care of your Service Set Identifier (SSID): For preventing someone else from getting connected to your Wi-Fi connection, always avoid publishing your SSID. There is the option to stay invisible, and so it makes it more difficult for attackers to find the network. It is impossible to connect to a network that you cannot see in the first place, which makes it really effective.
- Get a reliable firewall: It is also a great move to get a firewall that is directly connected to your wireless devices and your home network. Ensure that this is a host firewall as the network firewall may not be reliable enough to keep your connection protected.
- Share files with caution: When you are sharing files, make sure that you disconnect the process once it has been completed. Others could use that avenue to gain access to your files quite easily. In addition, you could also set a password to secure whatever you are sharing.
Once you have a router and a functioning Wi-Fi connection, it is important that you monitor those devices that are connected. Over time, some unauthorized users may gain access to your Wi-Fi connection, and so you would need to stop them. Leaving them connected could be harmful as you can barely predict what they could access through your Wi-Fi connections.