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How to know if someone is stealing your internet

Taylor Freitas

Oct 25, 2021 — 3 min read

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Over the past several years, it has become increasingly clear that the internet is an essential resource that everybody should be able to access. In many ways, having internet at home is just as important as having access to other basic utilities, such as water and electricity.

Unfortunately, wireless internet isn’t always as secure as these other utilities — which means that your neighbors may be stealing internet service from you. In this guide, we’ll explain how to find out if someone is stealing your internet and provide step-by-step instructions for securing your connection if you believe that it’s being used by someone outside your home.

How to know if someone is hacking your Wi-Fi

There are a few simple ways to figure out if a neighbor is using your internet (without confronting them), including using a third-party app and checking your router. Here’s how to know if someone is stealing your internet.

Using a third-party app to determine which devices are logged into your router

It seems like there’s an app for everything these days, including for finding out if anyone is stealing internet service from you. With an app like WiFi Guard (available for Android and iOS), you can quickly view a list of devices that are logged onto your home wireless network. If there’s one you don’t recognize, it may be a neighbor using your internet without permission.

Checking your router’s status light, and settings in routers app and admin control

If you’d rather not download a third-party app, you can also check your router. Here are three ways you can use your router to see which devices are connected to your home network.

Router status light

When there are devices connected to your router, the status lights on the device should flicker. Therefore, it makes sense that you can turn off your internet-connected devices to check if there are any unauthorized users on your network.

To do this, put all of your devices on airplane mode or shut them down entirely. Once they’re offline, check your router and see if there are any lights still flashing. If so, you may have a hacked router or a neighbor using your network.

Router app

Many routers sold today come with a smartphone app, which you can use to set up your internet and manage your account. In most cases, these apps will also include a feature that lets you view all of the devices connected to the router. 

To use this option, log into your router app and look for the list of connected devices. Its location will depend on your specific router, but it may be called a “clients” or “network” log. Once you’ve found it, sort through the devices and see if there are any that you don’t recognize.

Checking your admin control and network map

Finally, if neither of those options works, you can access your router’s admin control panel and look at the network map. This map shows you exactly which devices are currently connected to your router, as well as ones that were previously connected. Be aware that this is a more tedious process than the previous options since you’ll need to know the username and password for your router, as well as your IP address.

Each router control panel is different, but here’s a general overview of how to access yours. First, navigate to the web login for your router and enter your credentials. From there, look for an area called network map or router logs. Once you’ve found that, you should be able to see which devices or IP addresses are connected to your network.

How to delete devices off your Wi-Fi network and router

If you’ve discovered that someone is using your internet without permission, you should cut off their access as quickly as possible. 

The simplest way to do this is by changing the password to your router, which you can do once you’ve logged into the router control panel (as described above). Once you’ve done that, every device on the network will be prompted to re-enter the password. 

If possible, you should also upgrade the security system on your router to WPA2 or higher.

FAQs

What can you do if someone steals your IP address?

Every device on your home network will use the same IP address – including anyone who is stealing internet service from you. If you discover that an outside party is using your internet, you should immediately change your Wi-Fi password and increase the security settings on your router if possible.

But what if a hacker gains access to your IP address? In that case, you should change your IP address right away. You can do this in several ways, including resetting your modem or connecting through a virtual private network like ExpressVPN.

It might not feel like a big deal, but you should never use anyone’s wireless network without their permission. Not only is it considered stealing, but it’s also a security concern because it could potentially allow your neighbor to view your internet activity or access your device.

Instead, we recommend signing up for a cheap internet plan or using public Wi-Fi zones. Depending on your income, you may even qualify for free internet or a government-assisted plan.

If you need help finding the right internet plan for your needs, Allconnect is here to help. With our online comparison tool, you can explore internet plans and providers in your area and sign up for the one that’s right for you.

It can be scary to think that a neighbor or intruder might be using your internet without you knowing. Fortunately, it takes just minutes to find out and remove unwanted devices from your network.

If you’re wondering how to know if someone is stealing your internet, scroll up on this page for detailed instructions about how to view connected devices and kick unauthorized ones off your network.

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Taylor Freitas

Written by:

Taylor Freitas

Allconnect contributor

Taylor Freitas is a contributing writer for the Allconnect.com team, focusing on broadband and wireless topics. Over the past 10 years, she has written for publications such as LA Weekly, CNET, Safety.com and Ba… Read more

Robin Layton

Edited by:

Robin Layton

Editor, Broadband Content

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