Think twice before connecting to public Wi-Fi. It’s temporary at the cafe or the airport, but you never know who else is parked on the grid. Here’s what to watch out for.
What about when the guests come? Stop giving out your password. Take a few minutes to create a guest network instead of leaving everyone’s smartphones in your main network.
You should Be safer at home if you monitor what’s connected to your network. It’s not as complicated as it looks and it’s free.
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There is an application for that
Back then, you could only see what was on your network by logging into your router using a browser. It still works (more on that below), but most wireless service providers let you do it through an app now.
Go to your provider’s website to find the official app, add it to your smartphone, then log in with your ISP credentials.
They all have slightly different abilities. For example, the Cox Panoramic Wifi app lets you review and organize devices, change your Wi-Fi name and password, troubleshoot connection issues, and more.
Another cool feature: you can block internet connection to specific devices from anywhere, whether it’s a weird device you don’t recognize or kids playing video games late.
Want to know what your kids are doing online? Here’s how.
Use your router’s online interface
If there’s no app or you don’t want to bother, this simple method shows who and what is using your network. Log in to your router to see the latest information about connected devices. Most models will support this as it is a universal feature.
First, you will need your computer’s IP address. Here’s how to find it.
Once you have it, type the IP address into your browser’s address bar. You can then log in with your router’s personalized username and password – or the default credentials if you’ve never set one.
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Once you are there, look for a list that says DHCP-Client Or Connected devices. From there, you’ll see a list of devices currently using your network.
Pro tip: See something you don’t recognize? Change your Wi-Fi password and reconnect only devices you trust. It’s a long process, but well worth it. You can also manually remove individual devices from the list of connected gadgets. Look for the command to delete, block or remove.
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Dive deeper into your network
Third-party software can give you even more insight into what’s connected to your internet.
For Windows PCs, wireless network watcher scans your network and shows you the IP address, MAC address, name and manufacturer of the computers, tablets and smartphones it detects on your network.
Note: Each computer has a unique IP address or internet protocol address. Some computer hardware devices also have addresses. They are known as MAC or Media Access Control.
As soon as you start Wireless Network Watcher, you will see all detected devices on the list. You should be able to recognize connected devices. For example, you may see devices from Apple and Amazon Technologies if you are using an iPhone and Amazon Echo.
Get step-by-step instructions on how to download and use it here.
On a Mac computer, try Who’s on my Wi-Fi. If they aren’t obvious, you’ll have to do a little investigation to find out some of the connected devices. Look for the description and the manufacturers.
Don’t panic if you don’t recognize a device. Look around to see which devices, TVs, tablets, laptops, and smartphones are accessing Wi-Fi. There are plenty, so take your time checking off the list of devices. Anything connected that you don’t recognize is suspicious. Here are the steps to see if intruders are on your network
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If you’re looking for something with more punch, try Acrylic Wi-Fi Analyzer. The free version gives you information on up to five devices. Upgrade to paid if you want the full picture of what’s going on. You can pay $45 per year or around $100 for a lifetime license.
It can also help monitor traffic on your network, manage passwords, and more. Acrylic is a fantastic business solution or solid option for anyone with multiple networks.
Delete these devices as well
While you certainly want to boot strangers from your network, you should also look closer to home:
Delete devices you no longer use: old phones, speakers, laptops, game consoles and tablets.
Start any guests you haven’t had in a while. And the next time you have people over, let them connect to your guest network instead of your main network. Tap or click here and scroll down to number four for how to set it up.
Sometimes a technician needs to access your network to diagnose a problem or configure a new system or device. For example, a technician may need access to your Wi-Fi to configure irrigation zones. Once they have finished the job, remove their device.
If you’re going through a breakup, delete all of your ex’s devices and any that you share just to be safe.
Keep your technological know-how
My popular podcast is called “Kim Komando Today.” It’s a solid 30 minutes of tech news, tips, and callers with tech questions like you from across the country. Look for it wherever you get your podcasts. For your convenience, click the link below for a recent episode.
PODCAST CHOICE: TikTok car theft mess, AI-powered Microsoft Office and Google Maps gas savings
Also, is your automatic data for sale? Discover a free tool to see what information your car shares about you. A father needs a way to monitor his child’s iPad usage – I give my advice. A crazy dating site based on “hotness”, how to stand out in video calls and protect your privacy before selling your old phone.
Check out my “Kim Komando Today” podcast on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotifyor your favorite podcast player.
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