You've noticed that your internet has slowed down. It happens all the time and it's incredibly disruptive, and potentially dangerous.
You may see a frozen screen when you're trying to binge-watch your favorite TV show. You might get booted out when you're paying bills.
It can be a lot worse than that, though, if someone's accessing your Wi-Fi to install malware or steal your ID or financial information. Or it can simply be your neighbor using your Wi-Fi for free, on your dime.
Fortunately, there are FREE downloads to help you see who's accessing your Wi-Fi, whether you're using Windows or a Mac. These are fairly easy-to-use downloads that will help you identify unwanted people using your Wi-Fi, so you can take steps to protect your online content and devices.
Bonus: Mac users, keep reading for instructions.
Wireless Network Watcher for Windows
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 have addresses, too. They're known as MACs, or Media Access Control.
As soon as you boot up Wireless Network Watcher, you'll see all the detected devices come up on the list. You should be able to recognize most of the devices on it.
You might see devices from Apple and Amazon Technologies, for example, if you're using an iPhone and Amazon Echo. You should not see more than a handful of devices.
Read through the list to make sure you recognize everything. You know somebody is connected without your permission if you see devices that you don't recognize.
Who Is On My Wi-Fi for Mac
You have free access to see who's on your Wi-Fi if you're using a Mac. Like Wireless Network Watcher for Windows, Who Is On My Wi-Fi will show you who's accessing your Wi-Fi.
You'll have to do a little investigating to figure out some of the devices on there, if they're not obvious. Look for the description and manufacturer that are listed.
Don't panic if you you don't recognize a device. Look around your house to see which appliances, TVs, tablets, laptops and smartphones are accessing Wi-Fi - there's a lot there, so take your time to tick off the list of devices.
How to protect your Wi-Fi
Do you have a password on your Wi-Fi router? If you don't, immediately put one on there.
Go to your router's website to make changes. If you do have a password, this is a good time to change it
Then, take these extra steps to keep strangers from accessing your Wi-Fi. Log onto your router, then, turn on your router's encryption.
Windows: Click on the blue link below. Scroll down to close to the bottom of the page until you see in purple, "Download Wireless Network Watcher with full install/uninstall support (wnetwatcher_setup.exe)." Wireless Network Watcher will automatically download. Open the executable file and follow the step-by-step installation instructions.
Mac: Click on the Mac link below. Select Yes, set up continuous automatic scanning after you open it.
Click on Proceed. You'll see it scanning.
How to make your router hack-proof
Hackers love your router. Why?
You probably don't have a password on your router of it's weak, if you're like most people. Just think about all the people you've given that password to.
Good news! Follow these step-by-step instructions to protect your router from hackers.