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3 Ways To Know If Your WiFi Has Been Stolen

Some people think a little stolen Wi-Fi or “wireless piggybacking” isn’t a big deal. However, if someone is borrowing bandwidth, not only are they using bandwidth you paid for, but they may also be taking your data. When someone logs into your Internet connection, they are logging onto your network and are potentially able to harvest information from the files on your system. Even if you don’t see someone surfing the web for free as a negative, stolen files are definitely not good. But how do you know if someone is pilfering your signal? Look for these three signs:  

01. Your connection is slow or fades out. Sometimes your internet speed is slow even if someone isn’t stealing your Wi-Fi, but if it happens often or at the same time every day, it’s a good sign that someone might be poaching your signal.

02. You live in an urban area and your network isn’t password protected. Someone may not be stealing your Wi-Fi constantly, but the odds of it happening are great. From my apartment, I pick up 22 wireless networks, and 21 are password protected.

Eventually one of your neighbors, their guests, or a casual passerby will want to use the internet to find a movie showing or to steal your information. If they were in my building, they would turn to the one unsecured network.  If you don’t set a WEP key, someone is stealing your Wi-Fi – maybe not now, but soon.

03. You find a strange computer or device on your network. The best way to know that someone is piggybacking off your network is to catch them red-handed. Even if you have a protected router, your neighbor or a complete stranger could have figured out your WEP key.

If you run a current edition of Windows, you can visit the Control Panel and select “Network and Internet” and then “View network computers and devices” to see what is on your network.  If you are using a Mac, click the icon for “My Network” in Finder. If you find an unknown device in your network, set a WEP key if you don’t already have one, and if you do, change it.

Wi-Fi theft can be a very big deal. If a person is stealing your Wi-Fi, they can take your data (which can include personal information) along with your bandwidth. Keep your network secure by setting up a WEP key that would be hard even for someone that knows you to guess, and if you ever suspect again that someone is tapping into your signal, look for one of these three signs.

You happen to be looking at this write-up simply because you suspect someone is piggybacking your WIFI without your permission and also you want to find out how to see whether you are correct. Actually you can do more exploring if you do people search and lookup for geek squads that might give you more tips on how to track down these culprits.

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  1. Adam

    September 4, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    How to ensure someone will use your wifi connection : 1) Use WEP. It can be broken in less than 2 minutes by someone wardriving with a laptop and easily downloaded tools … … use WPA2 or you might as well not bother.

  2. sarvesh

    September 5, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing such a valuable tips. I will keep it in mind. Keep it up.

  3. Mark

    September 5, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    Hey admin,

    Periodically checking your network for strange computers is actually a very good idea.

    Just because everything is password protected doesn’t mean that people won’t hack it.

    I am going to start doing that…;)

    Thanks for the tip.


    • Admin

      September 5, 2011 at 3:30 pm

      Thanks for the valuable comment Mark

  4. kevin

    September 6, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Well I don’t think it would be anything but beneficial if we are secured of our files.. They could very well get to so much of your personal information and identity theft would be then crucial.. that’s one of the dangers I see..

  5. Sandra

    September 7, 2011 at 9:55 am

    My internet always gets super slow around 18.30 but that is when everybody in my neighbourhood comes home. I don’t suspect anyone of stealing my wifi, I still have a dsl connection (I’m in Beijing now) and it is probably becoming really slow because everybody starts using it.

    I can’t find where on my windows 7 I can check who is connected to the network. I can only find a networkCentre in my control panel. but that doesn’t tell me who is on the network.

    OT. Good post, valuable info.
    And Adam is right. Make sure you at least have a wpa2 protection. It’s not that complicated.

  6. Jon

    September 8, 2011 at 6:13 am

    A good way to secure against intruders is to not use DHCP. Instead, manually set all LAN IP address.

    This will prevent problems.

  7. jorge

    September 8, 2011 at 11:42 am

    haha! I sometimes browse on other persons files and copy movies I like.. woops! they never knew about it.. 😉

  8. sandeep

    September 13, 2011 at 9:45 am

    I have wi-fi and i know all the three ways if the wi-fi is stolen.

  9. briant

    September 14, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    Using a WPA2? what’s that?.. sounds good..

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