Some of them could just be neighbors mooching off your Wi-Fi network’s Internet connection, while some others are crooks attempting to hack other computers and steal data. Either way, knowing that there are unauthorized users may just be the kick in the pants you need to make your network more secure. Here’s how to find out who’s on your Wi-Fi.
If it’s really your Wi-Fi network, then you must have access to the router’s admin control panel. There you can most likely see a list of connected devices. The device names and IP addresses may or may not probably help you learn the identity of the device owners, but there should be MAC addresses listed as well—these are numbers unique to every device. Mark the MAC addresses associated with your own devices, and the remaining ones should be devices of unauthorized users.
If, however, you don’t have access to the router and simply want to see how congested its Wi-Fi network is, a lot of scanning applications are available online. A popular choice is Who Is On My WiFi. Even without administrator privileges, this nifty program can perform a network scan and lists all IP addresses, device names, and MAC addresses it can find. But whereas most routers only display the currently connected devices, Who Is On My WiFi keeps a record of past connections and can alert you on future intrusions. It also has a blocking feature that attempts to remove unauthorized devices from accessing network resources, such as Internet access.
The best way to keep creeps or anyone from entering your network is to protect it with a password—not only for the network itself but also for the router’s admin control panel. And don’t forget to change passwords from time to time. The more you switch it up, the safer you will be.