See if someone is stealing your Wi-Fi network

Edited by Ronniel Javier, Lynn, Kyoichiaquino, Eng and 31 others

You are not necessarily protected by your Internet Service Provider from dishonest people hitchhiking their viewing devices onto your WiFi network. You can't see any devices connected to your WiFi networks, even if you have access to your router configuration. Some hackers only need a few minutes to connect to your WiFi network, and you'll never know they are there, riding for free. What you will notice is your connection slowing down because someone is tapping into your internet connection. If you think this is happening to you, follow this guide to help you see if somebody is stealing your WiFi network and what you can do about it.

If your high-speed internet connection seems sluggish, someone might be using your internet access. The more people and devices connected to your network, the slower the connection is for everyone and every device connected. For instance, if someone is downloading or watching HD videos, it's going to slow down every other device connected to your WiFi. If you notice your connection is slow, and no one on your network that you know of is doing anything that would slow down the connection, it's a good indication that someone is using your WiFi without your knowledge or permission. Not only will it slow down your own connection, but if they are downloading, uploading, watching movies in HD they may cause you to go over your monthly limit, costing you money. If they are doing something illegal, it may be traced back to you. This article will help you to identify the connected devices in your network, and how to protect yourself.


Using Your Router's Administrative Page

See if someone is stealing your Wi-Fi network 77165.jpg

Check the LED light indicator of your Wireless Router. Your WiFi router has LED lights indicating if there's an internet connection, local network connections (wired connection), and any kind of wireless activity. One thing you can do is to turn off all your wireless devices, like your Laptop, computer, Smart TV, PSP, Xbox, cells, iPads, and any other gadgets that use your wireless connection. After you turn off all of those, you can simply check your wireless routers LED wireless connection indicator and see if it's blinking. If it is, even if all your wireless devices are off, then an unwanted user/users are using your WiFi.

  • Please note, that the routes to reach each router's setup panel may vary from one brand to another, and yet from the same brand model to another model. Refer to your router manual on how to reach your router's administrative page.
  1. 1
    First open your desired choice of web browser like Firefox, Chrome, Edge, etc
    (In this guide, I will be using Microsoft Edge).
    See if someone is stealing your Wi-Fi network 97589.jpg
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
  2. 2
    Click in the address bar near the top of the browser window, type in and then hit the "Enter" key
    See if someone is stealing your Wi-Fi network 65675.jpg
    Majority of the time this is the default IP address of the router but can vary depending on the manufacturer of the router you currently own. Please refer to your router's manufacturer page or that printed manual you got when you purchased it, which might be collecting dust by this point. Also, If this is not that default IP address of your router, determine your router's IP address by following our Find the IP Address of Your Router in Windows 7
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
  3. 3
    If you have entered the above correctly, you should now be greeted with the "Login" screen
    See if someone is stealing your Wi-Fi network 48942.jpg
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
  4. 4
    Fill in your login and password details and then click on the "Okay" button
    See if someone is stealing your Wi-Fi network 34267.jpg
    1. The default admin login Linksys products are usually User Name: (blank) password: admin.
    2. The default admin login Netgear routers is User Name: admin password: password.
    3. The default admin login D-Link routers is User Name: Admin; Password: (blank).
    4. The default admin login for Siemens routers is User Name: Admin; Password: admin (all lowercase).
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
  5. 5
    Once you have successfully login into your router, you will be greeted by your router's main screen
    Since in this tutorial I am using a NETGEAR router, I am granted by the NETGEAR Genie main screen. Other router's main screens will differ depending on the manufacturer.
    See if someone is stealing your Wi-Fi network 83920.jpg
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
  6. 6
    From here, click on "Attached Devices", which alternatively could be named "DHCP Client Table, DHCP Client List or even "MAC Address page" (which is usually tucked away in the "Advanced Settings" menu)
    See if someone is stealing your Wi-Fi network 49929.jpg
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help

Use An App To See Who Is On Your WiFi Network

Use An App To See Who Is On Your WiFi Network 46471.jpg

If you find that going into your Router's Administrative page is too difficult, you can always download an app to do all that tedious work for you. This will also depend on the manufacturer of your router as well. There are a number of apps that will scan your network for you. In fact, the chances are, you manufacturer might even have its own app that you can use, including Linksys Connect, NETGEAR Genie, or Apple's Airport Utility

There are also a ton of third-party programs or applications that you can choose to download if you are not a fan of the manufacturer's software, which will be able to provide you with the necessary information on who is connected to your WiFi network. Here are a few of the recommended choices for you: Who's on My WIFI, NirSoft Wireless Network, Watcher for Windows, or the Fing network scanner, which is available on both Android and iOS devices.

Can't Account For All the Connected Devices? Here's What To Do

See if someone is stealing your Wi-Fi network 43839.jpg

While ensuring your network is already secure is something everybody should do, especially now with how much our lives are interconnected with technology if your network is already encrypted and you still find someone unknown still connecting, you should:

  1. 1
    Change your WiFi password ASAP
    Please note: after doing this, you will have to reconfigure your own devices that connect to your wireless network, as the password will no longer match.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
  2. 2
    Immediately after doing this, check the listed of connected devices again to ensure that only devices that are yours are connected
    Follow the above-mentioned tutorials if you need help getting this information again.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
  3. 3
    Still see an unauthorized device/user connected to your network
    Then, unfortunately, you will need to start your network from scratch by returning your router to factory settings and configuring it all over again.  
    1. Although this sounds like a major pain, if you are worried about your privacy, security, and WiFi speed, this is the best way to make sure someone isn't connecting to your WiFi network. Need help? Follow our Setup Wireless Internet at Home Guide
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help

Tips Tricks & Warnings

  • Protect your WiFi network by inputting your desired hard-to-crack, long password.
  • Don't share your password with anyone, except if you really trust him or her.
  • Think long and hard when choosing passwords to avoid them being cracked.

Questions and Answers

How to Block Unwanted Devices on Network?

Most of the wireless connections today are security enabled so that no unauthorized access can get through. However, there are still some people who are so good at cracking network securities that they are still able to connect to a secured wireless network. If you think someone is stealing your wireless network and you want to block them, here are some options you can try.

  • Access your modem or gateway's page on a computer and check all the connected devices in your network. If you are not familiar with how to do it, you can contact your internet service provider or modem's manufacturer to get some assistance. When you log onto your modem's page, it should have a wireless interface where you can see all the wireless devices connected to your network.
  • Before you block any device, make sure that these devices are really gaining unauthorized access to your network. Compare the number of devices on the list to the wireless device you use at home. You can also ask your family members to verify their devices on your list. Most devices today including smartphones, tablets, and laptops are asked for a device name when they are configured. Check the names of the devices on the list to make sure that you do not accidentally block your own devices.
    Most modem pages should have a button that you can click on when you want to block a device. When you do this, it will block the device's MAC address (a device's unique identification) permanently. This means the device will never be able to connect to your network again unless you remove the block in the modem's wireless interface.
    You could try downloading and installing a software called Wireless Network Watcher. Upon installing, simply click play and see all the connections that are connected, and block the devices that you don't want to be connected to your wireless connection.

See more questions like this: Hi. hope this won't cause money

If we connect to someone's WiFi, are they notified?

Yes and No.

Yes, the WiFi network's owner will be notified if the owner is using monitoring software like SoftPerfect WiFi Guard. This software monitors and regularly scans for unrecognized and new devices wirelessly connected. It does this by pinging. The network owner receives notification of any suspicious activity in the network.

No, the WiFi network owners are not notified if someone has connected to their network, however, they may see if someone is connected by looking at the attached devices list on their router's address or by using a monitoring software such as SoftPerfect WiFi Guard.


WiFi is slow and sometimes disconnects?

When I look to connect, there appear to be other people connected, I guess, and one that is called D-Link with an exclamation point next to it. It says that someone may see what I'm doing

This is one of the most common problems with WiFi. Not only is this annoying because it slows down your connection, it also poses certain risks for you as the owner of the connection. If you do not set up strong passwords, the likelihood that someone else you don't know might hook up to your connection is very high. If there are so many others who are hooked up, it may even cause your connection to crash completely. Therefore, make sure you setup your password properly first.

If you notice another person hooking up to your WiFi without permission, there are ways to kick that person off as well. There should be a button that appears beside the connected list. Just kick out that particular connection and then reset your password.

I have discovered someone called Sam on my home network and I have no idea who he is. What should I do?

How do I delete him or her from my network

Within your router settings, there is a list of MAC addresses. Find the one that Sam uses from within the Manage Wireless Connections, and block him. Change your WiFi password immediately, and keep an eye on your settings for a few days to see if Sam shows up again.

Hi, someone is doing exactly what you explained in the header of your article. Could you help us please?

I'm lost and out of ideas on how to detect this cool hacker. It looks it is coming from my computer, I can send you some printouts. Looks like he managed to hack into my Gmail accounts and passed double safety acknowledgment

Change your password for your Google Accounts immediately. You should also use the sniffing tool mentioned in the article to find out what this person's MAC address is. Change the password to your router after you have blocked this MAC that is using your WiFi. Run a virus scan on your PC and other devices that you connect to the Internet. Also, make sure there is no trojan tether or keystroke virus on any of your devices.

You should contact Google to let them know that someone not only got into your Gmail account but that they also bypassed the authentication process. They may be able to investigate and see who breached your email account. If you have any financial emails or accounts using that Gmail, you will want to change those as well with new passwords. Specifically, choose a password that is not the same as your email accounts.

My internet connection gets really slow on occasions?

Sometimes I don't have any devices connected to my router and yet the lights that indicate data transfer continues to blink, later on, when I do connect a device such as my laptop, my internet connection is slow and lagging

You can use the tool mentioned above to get all the MAC addresses. Something to consider is if your Blu-Ray, game console, thermostat or another device is not using the router when you think everything is off. Whatever you hook up to the internet will make the router blink so even your clock radio, if it is connected, will make the router blink. For instance, an Ecobee thermostat that runs off the WiFi, or a coffee maker connected to the WiFi, even when turned off, unless it's unplugged. So if you see nothing on your router that is strange, think of what in your house is connected, other than your phone, PC or tablet.

Our two office desktop computers cannot connect to our office network. Any ideas what the problem might be?

When I check the setup and troubleshoot it, it appears that the password is correct, but the network name cannot be detected. Is it possible that our MAC address is blocked?

Here are a few things to try to connect computers to your office network:

The first thing to do is to reset your router. Then run Network Troubleshooter on both PCs. If that doesn't solve your issue, the above articles will help.

There are times when I am home alone that I can tell my speed gets much slower, and I live in an apartment building with some rather unsavory folks.

I have two younger children who may or may not have shared our password with their friends. I don't think so and they say not. but like I said, I can tell it slows way down at times and no one else is home.

Check your MAC addresses on the network. You also may want to change your password more frequently and only put it in their devices but do not tell them what the password is. One way to keep people off is to change the WiFi name to something official. It seems people are less likely to try and hack into a network with an official name. It's important to give it a name that doesn't easily identify you. (Our City) DEA is a better choice than The Smith's Network. Amazingly, just doing may deter people from trying to hitchhike onto your network, assuming it will be a network with more security.

I think one of my roommates blocked my Samsung Note5 to connect to my WiFi even with the correct password. Help?

This evening, for more than 2 hours, I've tried to connect to our WiFi with no success. Although I am entering the correct WiFi password, it's not allowing me to connect. I did forget the WiFi, and also reset all mobile setting, but I don't know why it's not connecting, my blackberry and laptop are connected and my other roommate is enjoying the WiFi, but I'm unable to connect my Note5. Last night it was fine, but tonight I cannot connect. Please suggest best ideas.

Go into Settings and make sure your SmartSwitch is turned off. Then turn off your WiFi connection and then back on again. Watch the authentication process to make sure there are no errors. The Note5 has a common connection issue when Smart Switch is on. Some users reported that turning off the WiFi and then back on again helps to get the Note5 connected, but it often takes more than one attempt.

If this does not work, backup your phone and do a factory reset. You can then retrieve your contacts when you restore the phone connection.

Looking mostly for a non-tech person having a kind of monitoring WiFi for treats and alarms etc?

Looking mostly for a non-tech person having a kind of monitoring WiFi for treats and alarms etc.

WiFi has become so standard in devices now, that it is hard to find someone that does not know much about tech but everything about WiFi because WiFi is the most common component of technological devices. Even our thermostats, coffee makers, cooking ranges, refrigerators now can connect to WiFi.

How do I change the password so others can't use it?

There is an annoying girl that is using our WiFi. She got the password from the youngest one. I don't like the fact that she is slowing down our internet because she also provided her friends with our password. I really don't like it and would like this problem fixed.

  1. 1
    Connect a computer to one of your router's Ethernet ports and make sure it is not the one that says WAN
    You will need an Ethernet cable for this. Most likely one came with the router when you purchased it.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
  2. 2
    Go to your network router administrator page
    Usually, there is a web page for this from the maker of your router. Enter the default administrator login name (usually "admin") followed by the default administrator password. If you know what the original password is, then you do not have to use a default one. Otherwise, to get the default password, search online the maker of your router for the default password.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
  3. 3
    Select the "Admin" page from your router's configuration page to change your password to a new one
    Write it down somewhere safe so that you can remember it if you ever need it again. You will want to configure a strong one this time.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help

Hi! I am having a problem with other people riding on my WiFi connection, even though it is password protected?

How do I block them from connecting to my WiFi?. I have tried: I can't do anything. I am still trying to learn how to do MAC filtering, I am confused with the router set up. I think it was caused by: According to my friends, the people who are riding on our WiFi can hack the router, and I guess and they can get the password. Not really sure how that is possible.

Follow the instructions in the main VisiHow article on this page on how to obtain the people's MAC from your router. You can also use the WhoIsOnMy WiFi app suggested in the QNA section on this page. Set up a firewall to prevent further intrusions with your WiFi.

Why is my laptop still loading when I browse despite its signal strength is 3/4 bar?

My router register 3/4 signal strength yet it is still slow. I have tried: Restart my router. I think it was caused by: Interference

Run your troubleshooter in Windows for Network Systems and then Wireless Connections. You can just type troubleshoot and then what you want to troubleshoot in the bottom search bar for Windows. See if you have a connectivity error. Get an Ethernet Cable and connect your laptop directly to the router. If you are still having loading issues, it may be that your router needs to be factory reset and configured again, or you may have a virus on your PC.

My router does not have an access control list or MAC filter option, what should I do?

Hardware version: C1 Firmware Version: 3.04 DIR-600M (my router info)

I can't find any MAC filter or blocking option. I have tried: I have tried different kinds of software, but none of them worked. I think it was caused by: Don't know from the beginning, it has been like this

Contact D-Link and request new firmware for your router. You will receive firmware to install which will give you access to MAC addresses. Others with this D-Link Router Model 600M have had to do this to gain access to the MAC settings.

Hi, I have used my work's WiFi, and I am worried the IT specialist will find out about it. Will they?

Hi, I have used my work's WiFi, and I am worried the IT specialist will find out about it? I have tried: Just wondering because I don't want to be fired. I think it was caused by: Just wondering and not wanting to be fired.

IT probably will not be looking at all the MAC addresses at work. If you were given the password, then you have permission to use the WiFi. You could, as a courtesy, tell IT that you used it to check something for example if you are worried, but it is unlikely they'd be investigating the MAC addresses and even if they were, yours would just be blocked.

All this is fine unless you work for a company that prohibits anyone connecting personal devices to their network. If this is the case, probably wise to stop before you do get caught.

Unknown search addresses have been found on my history listing?

I live in a very rural area where my nearest neighbor 500 ft away and the one beyond that is 1 mile away. I use Google Chrome as my search engine and was checking my history and noticed that were a number of sites listed that I know that I never accessed. I clicked on a few and noted these were mainly sites dealing with cars, repairs, and maintenance. How do I make sure that no one outside my home is using my WiFi and is there any way to determine from which outside device this might be happening?

VisiHow QnA. This section is not written yet. Want to join in? Click EDIT to write this answer.

How do I kick people off of my WiFi that are mimicking some of my info to gain entry?

I have the majority of their information but it doesn't give me the option to forget or remove them. Thank you.

VisiHow QnA. This section is not written yet. Want to join in? Click EDIT to write this answer.

If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.


Article Info

Categories : Networking

Recent edits by: Jay, DeleteQnA, mattv2u

Share this Article:

Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 74,202 times.


Thank Our Volunteer Authors.

Would you like to give back to the community by fixing a spelling mistake? Yes | No