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Easy way to see if someone is stealing your Wi-Fi

Now is not the time to be dealing with slow internet. Unfortunately, it may happen more than you’d like 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.

The problem may stem from the way your system is set up. It might be time to switch to a mesh network. Tap or click here to find out how a mesh network gives you whole-home coverage.

However, it might not be your system at all. Slow internet could be the result of someone stealing your Wi-Fi. Fortunately, there are free downloads to help you see who’s accessing your Wi-Fi, whether you’re using Windows or a Mac.

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 the connected devices. You might see devices from Apple and Amazon Technologies, for example, if you’re using an iPhone and Amazon Echo.

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.

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 connected devices if they’re not obvious. Look for the description and manufacturers that are listed.

Don’t panic if 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. Anything connected that you don’t recognize is an intruder.

How to protect your Wi-Fi

Do you have a password on your Wi-Fi router? If you don’t, immediately create one. Tap or click here to create stronger passwords.

RELATED: 5 essential router security settings to check now

Go to your router manufacturer’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.

Tap or click here for detailed instructions to Keep criminals off your Wi-Fi with ease.

Download instructions

Windows: Click on the 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.

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