February 18, 2020
How to tell if someone’s using your WiFi without permission (and how to stop them).
Is Someone Stealing Your WiFi?
You’re on the internet, minding your own business, perhaps watching Netflix, working online from home or swiping left and right for a match. You start to notice stalled streaming, pixilation, slow file transfer, emails getting held up in your outbox or a lag in your pick-up line going through the chat box. These are textbook signs of decreased network bandwidth, which mean someone could be stealing your wifi.
Why It Matters When Someone’s Stealing WiFi
Aside from interrupting the latest West World episode and preventing your internet from reaching the optimal speeds, the more serious matter is the fact that your WiFi network is unsecured and data could be hacked. A stranger could potentially access shared folders and take your personal information. Think – your financial, medical and family matters, could all be susceptible.
How to Check Who’s Using Your Internet
Protect your privacy and get your internet back up to speed by taking control of who you let on your WiFi. First, check to see who’s stealing your internet in the following ways:
Observe router light(s). Turn off all your wireless devices in your home and if the light(s) on your router indicating wireless internet activity still blink, that means an outsider may be on your WiFi.
Monitor wifi activity with an app. Cox customers can use the Panoramic WiFi app, which allows customers to view the status of their internet connection, restart their gateway and troubleshoot issues for a particular device.
Check the list of router devices on your network. Type in your router’s IP address into an internet browser. Log in to your router using your username and password and find the section where you can check all attached devices. You’ll be able to see all devices that are connected to your wifi that aren’t yours or in your household.
What to Do About It
At the end of the day, you want a better wifi connection, right? Once you’ve figured out who’s been stealing your internet service, you can kick them off the network and prevent similar occurrences from happening in the future. Take these steps to secure your WiFi connection and ensure your household is the only one that has access to the network:
Set a strong WiFi password. Create a password for your network if you don’t have one. This can prevent unauthorized users from easily logging in. If you have a password but it’s the default one you were given with your router, change it to add an extra layer of security. Taking this action will kick off any current user you’ve unintentionally been giving free internet to.
Use the WPA2 network encryption. Use WPA2 encryption, which is the strongest encryption that will ensure you’re on a separate and secured wireless network.
Block unknown users through your router settings. If you choose to check the list of devices using your network via router login, you can also block the unknown devices by going to the advanced wireless settings tab, filtering option.
No one should stop you from using the internet as you please, especially unwelcomed users. With the right adjustments and precautions, you can free your network bandwidth of any WiFi stealers and get back to business as usual.
Learn how to manage people and devices on your home wifi network. Read our Guide: Do I have too many devices on my wifi?