Beware the Wi-Fi sneak
Wi-Fi is a hot commodity – especially right now when remote work and school are critical to everyday life and people are spending hours online to pass the time when many outside attractions are closed. If you’re lucky enough to enjoy good, working Internet during this time, that’s great – but could someone else be taking advantage of your connection? Here’s how to know if someone is stealing your Wi-Fi, and what to do about it.
Slow Internet speed
According to Alex Hamerstone, an expert in cyber security, there are some tell-tale signs you have a Wi-Fi thief, the most pedestrian of which is decreased Internet speed. Of course, there could be a whole host of reasons you’re experiencing slower Internet. But if you’re regularly noticing “slower Internet speeds, or more buffering,” you should consider that someone might be stealing your Wi-Fi.
One of the for-better-or-worse hallmarks of the Internet age is advertising – specifically, those weirdly accurate ads that pop up in pretty much all of your browsers, a subtle reminder that your activity is being monitored. But if you suddenly start noticing ads that seem distinctly not you, this is often a sign that your Wi-Fi has a squatter, Hamerstone says. “The Wi-Fi thief is likely sharing your IP address, and their browsing history could influence the ads that pop up in your browser while you’re surfing the web,” he explains. “In most cases, that will just be annoying, but it could also be harmful if the Wi-Fi thief is viewing adult or inappropriate content from your network, leading to similar adult-themed ads that pop-up in your Internet sessions.” If this happens, you’ll want to take action immediately.