Man with a mask! Mask your password

How to stop people from stealing your Wi-Fi

You don’t want neighbors or passers-by stealing your Wi-Fi, so let’s help you catch that Wi-Fi thief. If someone can hook onto an equivalent network as you, it becomes easier for them to pay attention to your browsing and your locally stored files.

So how does one set about locking things down? Thankfully, keeping unwelcome visitors faraway from your Wi-Fi isn’t difficult and doesn’t require an IT qualification. Here’s what you would like to do.

Keep changing your password

By far the simplest thanks to boot freeloaders off your wireless network is to vary the Wi-Fi password. You can try this through your router’s settings. Dig out the manual or run a fast web search to seek out the instructions for your particular make and model.

Change the password to something very hard to forget (for you) and impossible to guess (for everyone else), and you’ll have a fresh start as far as access to your wireless network goes. You’ll need to suffer the inconvenience of reconnecting all of your devices and computers, but that’s a little price to buy a fresh Wi-Fi start. Pick something important to you, a date or a reputation, that nobody else would consider. So it’s simple for you to enter and secure against unwanted visitors.

The router’s initial password is usually printed on a sticker that’s attached to the device itself. Changing it’ll prevent guests from spying on the safety code. If the password’s only in your head or somewhere secure, nobody else can connect until you tell them what it’s.

Check your router settings

While you’ve got your router configuration page open, a couple of other settings are worth watching. First, change the default password for accessing the router settings page to something else. This will stop anyone who might gain access to your network from changing the Wi-Fi password themselves. As you saw once you accessed your router settings for the primary time, you would like a password to urge into the menus and a separate one to attach to Wi-Fi, so changing them both gives you maximum protection.

It’s also worth applying any pending firmware updates, which ensures your router is running the newest and most secure version of its basic OS. Again, with numerous router makes and models on the market, we can’t offer you instructions for everyone, but it should be simple to do. Find the instruction booklet or a guide online for your device, and it’ll only take a few minutes.

Wi-Fi router settings showing which devices are connected to your internet. You ought to find a screen listing the devices connected to your Wi-Fi. Is there anything there you don’t recognize? You regularly have the choice to disconnect a tool. You would probably have to do some detective work to spot the devices your router lists.

wi-fi detective

Finally, you ought to be ready to find a setting that “hides” your network (the technical term is that the service set identifier or SSID) from view, so it won’t appear when your neighbors or visitors scan for Wi-Fi on their devices. If you would like to attach a replacement device, you’ll have to enter the SSID manually. It’s not an enormous improvement in Wi-Fi security, but it’s a neat trick that will assist you to stay under the radar of hackers and Wi-Fi freeloaders.

Other security tips

If you would like some extra help spotting who’s on your network who maybe shouldn’t be, beyond what your router offers, try Fing for Android or iOS, or Acrylic Wi-Fi for Windows. All those apps are free (for non-commercial use) and are easy to navigate around regardless of your level of networking know-how. Various other apps are available that do an equivalent job.

Installing a VPN on your computer or employing a browser that has one inbuilt doesn’t do anything extra in terms of stopping people from connecting to your Wi-Fi, but it does add a layer of encryption between you and the web. That way anyone who manages to gain access to your network will have a way harder time trying to pay attention to your activities (like which websites you visit and the data you’re sending). While a VPN might slightly hamper your connection speed, it keeps you tons safer—just make certain to settle on a reputable, paid-for service.

Finally, if your computer is close enough to the router to wire it up directly, and you’ve got strong cellular reception on your phone, you’ll close up Wi-Fi on your router every once in a while, which may be done through the router settings on all modern boxes. No one’s getting attached to your Wi-Fi network if it’s turned off. 

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