The modern world and the internet walk hand in hand as technology keeps updating the lifestyle of human beings.
The Internet has completely changed the way individuals share information or entertain themselves; it plays a great role in the enhancement of life’s quality; hence, the use of the internet has become a necessity.
The internet helps you to reach anywhere in the world virtually. It's impossible today to imagine life without the internet.
Worldwide users require high-speed data for better performance in every field these days. For example, people need high-speed internet for video conferencing and for online streaming and gaming.
It doesn't matter if it's a regular smartphone or a gaming console, both require high-speed internet for flawless data transfer. The internet has become a massive part of everyone's life today.
On some days, our mobile data isn't enough; hence, various households opt for the facility of Wi-Fi. It is a facility that allows devices like phones, tabs, and computers to connect to the internet wirelessly within a limited area.
Even though everyone has sufficient mobile data to cover up daily usage but due to this lockdown condition, the usage of data has increased. Internet provider companies have also launched new schemes providing more data.
With new technology launching every day, new challenges also appear upfront. One of those challenges is being hacked, which is very common these days.
We often realize that our Wi-Fi speed decreases due to an increased number of users, our neighbours or people around tend to crack the protected Wi-Fi passwords to use the high-speed data services.
There are days when you have to share your Wi-Fi network with other users and give them access to your internet connection, which shall risk your network's security.
When any device connects to a new Wi-Fi network, an option to save a password or connect automatically appears in the dialogue box. If the user sets the option as default, his device shall automatically connect to your network every time he is in the vicinity.
You’ll worry less if your Wi-Fi network uses WPA2-PSK encryption and has a strong password.
Types of Encryptions
Sometimes, despite all these measures that include enabling WEP encryption, hiding the SSID of your network, and enabling the filters of MAC addresses, the Wi-Fi network doesn't seem secure.
A strong password with WPA2 encryption can deter a casual user from using the Wi-Fi connection network. Encryptions are of several types, WEP, WPA, and WPA2. Let's learn about this encryption and the process of enabling them.
WEP encryption is one of the most commonly used encryptions as it deters strange and casual users from connecting to the Wi-Fi network but it can be cracked easily within minutes by people who want to hack into your Wi-Fi network connection.
It is suggested that WPA2 is ideal encryption and shall secure your network. In case your device doesn't work with WPA2, you need to upgrade the device to its latest version as it shall only behold the WEP and WPA network encryption service otherwise.
WiFi (Wireless) Password Security - WEP, WPA, WPA2, WPA3, WPS Explained
Modifying the Network’s Configuration
Now there are a few more ways to make sure that no one sniffs in your network. Your Router’s admin page has several options to tweak your Wi-Fi network configuration. A few of the tips are shared below.
In case your router has a provision for hiding the SSID, running this feature is one of the ways to decipher who is connected to your Wi-Fi network.
SSID names tell you the nearby computers and other nearby devices when they are in the vicinity of your Wi-Fi network. Once you hide your SSID, you will have to connect to it physically. This will result in your device broadcasting the network's name.
These broadcasts allow other users who are in the nearby vicinity to regulate the SSID of your network. In case there are tools nearby, which monitor the wireless traffic, they can quickly detect the hidden SSID names.
Media Access Control (MAC) address is a unique ID of every network interface card. Every device that supports the Wi-Fi network has a unique MAC. This includes mobile phones, tabs, laptops, Wi-Fi printers, and game consoles.
Your router broadcasts the list of the MAC addresses connected to it and allows you to identify and detect all the strange, unnecessary, and casual devices, further restricting them according to your convenience.
However, if you enable the feature of MAC address filtering, you can decide which device should be connected to your network.
Connect all your devices to the router, enable the filtering feature, and select only your device's MAC address to access your router. This filtering process provides the benefits of securing your Wi-Fi network but it isn't considered the best.
DHCP server under the Network Address Server Settings presents the list of devices connected to the Wi-Fi network. This feature is also useful when it is disabled because then the device that connects to your network will not automatically receive an IP address.
He would have to enter the IP address on the device to use the network. This is known as Static IP Addressing. To check how many people and which devices are using your Wi-Fi network, here are some ways to find out:
To decipher the list of people using your Wi-Fi connection, GlassWire is one of the best firewall systems for security. GlassWire provides a Pro version, an easier and quicker version that presents the list of devices connected to the Wi-Fi network.
Along with the identification feature, GlassWire Pro presents statistics through graphs of bandwidth usage, applications, and websites that are used. Alerts are received whenever the user tries to change an application or tries to install a new system.
To ensure secured usage, GlassWire informs you every time a new device tries to connect to your Wi-Fi network. To enable the notifications for the same:
- 1Open the Settings panel, select the option of Network Device Monitor.
- 2Enable two notifications by checking two boxes, i.e., to notify whenever a device joins or quits the local network and to show these notifications on the desktop.
The best remark of the GlassWire application is that it is free of cost for basic usage. The network identification feature is paid.
Web Interface of the Router
The information related to a list of devices can be found through the router's web interface as it hosts the connection of your Wi-Fi. It lists the people trying to connect to your Wi-Fi network.
You can check the IP address through the control panel of the computer's gateway or run the ipconfig/all command prompt window. Once the IP address is found, plug it in the address of your web browser and press enter.
After you press enter the IP address appears under the option of Default Gateway and the screen presents the router interface. In case it doesn't, recheck the documentation of your router or search for the model number of the router on the web.
If you are using Mac, you have to:
- 1Click on the Wi-Fi icon on the menu bar and select 'Open Network Preferences'.
- 2Once the Network Settings appear on the screen, select 'Wi-Fi' and click on 'Advanced', which appears on the corner of the window on the bottom right-hand side.
- 3When the next window appears, select the TCP/IP option, wherein you will find the IP address. Once the user has the IP address, he may copy and paste it on a new browser, redirecting the router's login page.
- 4Login through the ID and password available with you and if you are unaware of the ID and password, check the router's backside.
Router’s Configuration Page Settings and How to Access Them
List of Connected Devices
You may find a list of the devices connected to your network on your router's web interface in a link or options named either as 'Attached Devices' or 'Connected Devices' or as 'DHCP Clients'.
This can be found on the configuration page or status page. In case you use D-Link Routers, the list is available in the status bar under the option of Wireless. If you use the Netgear Smart Wizard router, you shall find 'Attached Devices' on the sidebar of the web interface.
People using the Linksys Routers by Cisco Systems can access the DHCP Client Table under the option of Local network, which can be accessed in the Status option. Comcast Xfinity Router users can access the list of connected devices in the sidebar of the web interface.
What's in the List
A list of devices connected to routers is provided by DHCP but there are devices configured with a static IP configuration that shall not appear in the list. The information provided in the list is the MAC address and the hostname of every device.
In case you find an unwanted user of your Wi-Fi network, you may boot it off your network. There is an option to change the computer names or hostnames but the MAC address is an authentic source to check the device.
However, the list provided isn't authentic as one may change his hostname and the MAC address if he is a tech-savvy person, which further results in connection glitches in your device with the router due to the spoofing of the MAC address.
To ensure no ghost users are connected to your Wi-Fi, you may reset your Wi-Fi password if you are using WPA2-PSK encryption.
Scanning the Wi-Fi Network
Router web interface offers the feature of checking who is connected to your Wi-Fi and you can do so through the scanning tool provided in the majority of the routers.
Scanning tool is the software that runs in your computer and helps you detect and identify the devices connected to your Wi-Fi. All online devices that are connected are identified and listed there.
One of the tools for scanning the network is 'NirSoft's Wireless Network Watcher' for Windows users and 'Who Is On My WiFi' for Mac users.
This tool is convenient as it runs without any nag screen or adware and there is no need to go through the tiresome process of installation of the tool. All you have to do is download this tool and launch it.
Once launched, it shall observe your network for the active devices and further display their names, MAC addresses, and the manufacturer of the Wi-Fi network's hardware.
For devices with any specific names, the manufacturer's name is useful for identification.For the proper working of the scanning tool, specify the Wi-Fi adapter you are using.
In case you want to find out the name of the adapter, you can do so in the advanced option of Wireless Network Watcher, wherein you shall find 'Use the following network adapter' and select your Wi-Fi adapter.
Securing Wi-Fi is essential as other devices using the network might bring disturbance in the high-speed internet connection, which is one of the major motives for switching to Wi-Fi. Your important reports and video conferencing can suffer delays or glitches due to the same.
For instance, it's Saturday night, you have your popcorn ready and are comfortable in your bed with your pet to watch that movie you have been thinking about during the whole week but online movie streaming faces glitches due to decreased speed as your neighbour is piggybacking your Wi-Fi for gaming.
The internet has become a necessary commodity not only in professional life but also in personal life. Hence, securing your Wi-Fi network with the best possible encryption and a strong password has become important.
In case you face difficulties securing your Wi-Fi network, this article is a useful source to solve the problems with the solutions mentioned above.