You cannot underestimate how important good wireless network security is these days. If someone has access to your network, that person has access to all the computers in your network, and that can have very annoying consequences. In this article we explain how you can find out who is using your network. Because all routers are different, we will only cover the basics here. Taking the Linksys WAP54G as an example, the required actions for your router will probably be slightly different. We also assume that you are properly connected to your router (wirelessly or with an Ethernet cable), using DHCP.
Step 1. Open a browser and enter your router's IP address in the address bar
To find this do the following:
- Go to Start > Run, and type "cmd".
- Type in "ipconfig" and press enter. Now you will see the "default gateway", or the IP address of your router. Type this address into the address bar of your router.
Step 2. Enter your router's username and password
If you've never changed that, these are the factory settings that you can use for different brands:
- Linksys - username: (blank), password: admin
- Netgear - username: admin, password: password
- Dlink - username: Admin, password: (blank)
- Siemens - username: Admin, password: admin (lower case)
- Sometimes you can find the username and password on the bottom of the router. Otherwise, search for your router brand on Google.
- You can also find the username and password at http://www.portforward.com. This is a website normally used to open certain ports on your router for gaming, but you will also find a lot of information about usernames and passwords.
- Once you're logged in, it's a good idea to immediately change the username and password to something more secure.
Step 3. In the portal of the router, you will probably see a setting that allows you to track users of the router
Turn this feature on if it wasn't already turned on. This is called "Log users" or something similar.
Step 4. Take a pen and paper and find the MAC addresses of all the devices you normally connect to the network
A MAC address is a hexidecimal code that is unique to each computer. So you can use the MAC address to recognize computers. Look up the MAC addresses of all the computers, tablets and smartphones you have.
Method 1 of 2: Find out who is using your network
Step 1. Go to the "Setup" tab
Step #2. Scroll down until you see 'DHCP Server'
If this is enabled, go to the next step. If not, enable DHCP.
Step 3. Click the "Status" tab and then "Local Network" just below the main tabs
Step 4. Click the button that says "DHCP Clients Table"
In the list that appears you will see all computers connected to the network via DHCP (DHCP automatically configures the IP settings and DNS settings of the connected computers). This only works if everyone connected is using DHCP. If someone uses a static IP address it will not appear in the DHCP list.
Method 2 of 2: Alternative way
Step 1. Download and install the "Who Is On My Wireless" program
Step 2. Click the "Scan" button, then a list of all connected computers on your network will appear after scanning
- Always use WPA or WPA2 for security. WEP encryption is not secure enough. Go to the "Security" tab and see if WPA or WPA2 is activated.
- Turn off the "Broadcast" option. Hides the name of the network. You can still connect to it yourself, because you know the name.
- An experienced hacker will probably know detours for all the steps in this article. Only WPA/WPA2 security is very difficult to crack.
- Use a different subnet. This prevents people from guessing your router's IP address when the DHCP server is turned off. The default is usually 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.0.1. You can change this on the "Setup" page.
- Use a "firewall", with which you can prevent unwanted attacks from outside.
- Turn on "MAC Filtering". By filtering MAC addresses you can prevent unknown MAC addresses from connecting to your network. However, experienced hackers can pretend to have a different MAC address, for example the MAC address of your computer. This is called "spoofing".
- Make sure you know the physical address of your router in case you need to reset the router to factory settings.
- Be careful when adjusting the router's settings. If you do it wrong, the router may become unreachable.