There are a number of indirect indicators that someone may be borrowing your connection. Of these, the most common are things like suspiciously slow connection rates and download speeds, and (if you have data caps) getting a bill for more bandwidth than you know you have used. If one of your neighbors is using your connection to download files illegally, you may also be contacted by your ISP (Internet Service Provider) with a less-than-friendly warning about the activity. Of course, if you want to use more direct methods, then the best way is to simply log onto the web interface of your router. From there, you can monitor all connection activity in real time.
Understand that if your connection is unsecured, and someone else piggybacks on your signal, some of the files on your computer are at risk. Specifically, any file that resides in a shared folder on your computer can be seen, modified and even deleted by an unwanted visitor. If you’ve got sensitive information in those shared folders, that’s setting yourself up for trouble.
The good news is, there’s an easy fix for all of this. Routers come with on-board security. You can configure a password for your router so that not just anyone within range can make use of it. As with most other passwords, you can type it into your computer once, and save the information, so that you’re not prompted for the password every time you want to get online.
If you want to take things a step further, there are some great firewall programs available that can provide an added layer of protection and security. The main point here is that given the dangers, it’s extremely unwise to leave your Wi-Fi connection unsecure. It only takes a few minutes to secure the connection, and will give you peace of mind. If you need help setting up or securing your wireless, give us a call.