How to understand that your Wi-Fi is being stolen?

A Wi-Fi router is now almost everywhere where there is Internet. Both providers and creators of routers, of course, took care of the security of devices. However, there is always a chance that someone else will “stick” to your Internet. Why it is dangerous and how to prevent theft – we will tell in detail in our material.

Wi-Fi theft: why is it dangerous?
It’s hard to meet a person these days who leaves their home Wi-Fi without a password. It’s not so much about security, but about the principle “I pay – I use it.” However, not everyone sets really strong passwords. For example, in a recent study , experts identified the most popular passwords. Among them are “12345678”, “qwerty” and their combinations. Naturally, all these sets are also relevant for routers. So hacking into someone’s Wi-Fi is sometimes a lot easier than it sounds.


How critical is it? It all depends on the goals of the thief. At best, an unscrupulous neighbor will use your Internet solely for surfing the Web or watching videos. If you have a high speed and a powerful router, it’s not always possible to notice such a “leech”. But if the Internet is slow, then another user will definitely cause trouble: he will take away part of your traffic.

Wi-Fi router TP-LINK Archer C80 6 350 *
There are also more dangerous situations. Your IP address may be used for illegal activities. In any case, from the point of view of the security forces. For example, your neighbor is an ardent fan of leaving impartial comments on social networks. Given the current legislation, it is quite possible to receive administrative or criminal punishment for this. After analyzing the IP address, the provider’s specialists can determine the subscriber and his actual place of residence. And then prove that this is all your neighbor …

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In the worst case, you may lose authorization data for some accounts. Moreover, this is possible even when using WPA2 and HTTPS level protection. Of course, this cracker requires certain skills and appropriate software.

The risk that a neighbor who steals your Wi-Fi makes a targeted attack is low. But in any case, you should not ignore browser warnings that you were unable to obtain a secure connection.


It is better to get rid of Wi-Fi thieves immediately, because it is never possible to predict the consequences of their actions.

How to Spot a Wi-Fi Thief
The first symptoms of theft may be a drop in speed, for example, when downloading torrents or using iPTV. For example, with an actual speed of 80 Mbps (10 Mb / s) and disconnecting all other devices from Wi-Fi, you are downloading at the level of 5-8 Mb / s. This is a good reason to look for where the traffic goes. Of course, these problems can be caused by failures at the provider itself. Therefore, for the final answer, you will have to use one of the presented methods.

Router web console
The easiest way to check all connected devices is to go to the settings of the router itself. To do this, you will need to open its web interface in the browser (usually at, fill in the login/password. This data is available on the label of the router itself. Of course, it is better to change the standard login and password. This is the first measure to secure your Wi-Fi.


Next, you need to find a list of connected devices. In TP-LINK, for example, this can be done in the “Wireless Mode” – “Statistics” block. Gadgets connected via Wi-Fi are displayed here. The main problem is low information content, since only MAC addresses are indicated.

Wi-Fi router TP-LINK Archer C54

[4×100 Mbps, 5 (802.11ac), 4 (802.11n), Wi-Fi 1167 Mbps, IPv6]
3 799 *
721 five
Stores: 212 stores

A MAC address is a unique number for equipment on a network. You can screenshot it, and then go to the “DHCP” – “List of clients” block. Here you can already search for the names of connected devices, including wired ones. For example, we see a personal computer and two smartphones (Redmi Note 7 and Mi9T Pro), as well as our imitation of a thief – Unknown.


In ASUS routers, the type of connection is additionally shown – wired or wireless. As a rule, the type of device (smartphone or laptop) is determined at the same time.


It remains only to find a gadget in the list that does not belong to you. In the worst case, all connected devices will be displayed as Unknown (including your own). What to do in this case? You can compare the MAC addresses of existing gadgets, revealing the thief. Or switch to other methods.

You can usually find out the MAC address of your smartphone through the settings in the “General information” section.


Mobile applications
You can try to find the thief directly from your smartphone. For example, for TP-LINK routers there is a proprietary Tether application . With it, you can view the main parameters of the router and make some basic settings. To log in, you only need to know the username and password from the router.

Tether offers similar information as in the web interface, just in a more convenient and understandable way. For example, on the “Clients” tab, you can immediately see who is connected to the router.


ASUS also has an analogue of such an application . This is a quick and convenient way to check Wi-Fi for rogue connections.

Wi-Fi router ASUS RT-AX55 10 999 *
What to do if there is no proprietary application for your router? Download third party software! The Play Market has about a dozen programs created specifically for analyzing connected clients. Among the highest rated are ” Who’s Stealing My Wi-Fi ” and ” Who’s Using My Wi-Fi “. Such software allows you to get information about all connected devices and other useful data.


Applications for PC and laptop
You can monitor the network using specialized programs. The simplest and most widely available is Wireless Network Watcher . The functionality comes down to scanning IP addresses and displaying the results in a table. The software monitors all connections in real time. You can set a sound signal that informs you about the connection / disconnection of a device. As we can see, the program could not determine the phone models, but installed the Unknown device as a gadget from Xiaomi.


An alternative option is SoftPerfect WiFi Guard . After starting the program, just select the network adapter and start scanning. In fact, the software offers all the same features, but with additional features. For example, you can immediately mark verified devices (green). All other unregistered devices will be displayed in red. Additionally, the time spent on the connection is displayed. Indirectly, this will help determine how far away your Wi-Fi thief is.


We recommend using the F-Secure Router Checker web service . It does not determine the number and type of devices connected to the router, but allows you to check the interception of DNS requests. Attackers can hack your router to redirect you to phishing sites that are identical in design to the official pages. As a result, you will enter your username and password without even realizing the danger. If the service determines the problem, then your router has been hacked. Then you need to urgently change the authorization data (or reset to factory settings).

How to disable a thief from Wi-Fi
There are many ways to get rid of “freeloaders”. Best of all – through the settings of the router or branded applications for the smartphone.

In the web interface, you need to find the “Protection” block (or similar) and set filtering by MAC addresses. There are two options here.

create a “white list” – allow only those devices whose MAC address is in the table to connect;
create a “black list” – prohibit the connection of gadgets with the specified MAC addresses.

The first option is preferable: with it you don’t have to “catch” the MAC address of the thief every time. But if you want to connect a new gadget to the network, you will have to separately register the permission in the table. Other routers have a similar mode.