Solved Can neighbor Steal my DSL wireless internet connection?

May 17, 2013 at 04:57:04
Specs: Windows XP, Pentium 4/1GB RAM
I'm connected to the net with a wireless modem but via the phone line.
Can someone, like a neighbour, feed off my modem?

See More: Can neighbor Steal my DSL wireless internet connection?

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May 17, 2013 at 06:24:25
✔ Best Answer
Not if you set up an encryption key (also called a wireless key or wireless password).
You can do that by opening your router's configuration utility and going to the wireless section.

Then nobody can connect to your router wirelessly if they don't know the key.

Most routers are supplied with a default wireless key already set up at the factory but it's recommended that you change it to one of your own choosing, as many people know (or can easily find out) what the default key is for a particular make & model of router.

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May 17, 2013 at 07:29:16
Just to add to what phill22 said, when configuring your wireless encryption, use WPA2 encryption. It's the highest level of encryption available on a SOHO router and therefore the most secure. WEP can be easily cracked.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***

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May 17, 2013 at 19:36:28
In the Netgear N150 Wireless ADSL2+ DGN1000 manual, it says it comes with pre-set security - SSID, passphrase, and security option (encryption protocal) are pre-set in the factory.

It goes on to say "Security option is the type of security protocol applied to your network.......WPA-PS K/WPA2-PSK.....Netgear recomends that you do not change your pre-set security settings"

So, is my wi-fi secure or not?

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Related Solutions

May 18, 2013 at 08:20:33
The router is already preset to WPA or WPA2 encryption as the manual states so it's already a secure wireless connection and you need do nothing.

Since WPA2 is even more secure than the first generation WPA protocol, you may want to check which one your router is using (if only to know which) by looking in the wireless section of your router's configuration utility.

However, if it's currently set to WPA (and not WPA2) I would be wary of changing it as some older laptops and other wireless devices do not support WPA2 as the protocol was not made mandatory for all new devices until 2006.

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May 19, 2013 at 03:40:05
Okay, to confuse things, the reason for this problem is that i also have a laptop with Windows 7 which is connected to the modem via cable. But the wireless indicator light on the laptop always flashes. In the Network Internet Access in system tray is a list of other people currently online wireless. So why am i seeing this list?

Furthermore, on the modem, the indicator light of LAN port to which the laptop is plugged into, is red yet i can get on the net. But if i instead, plug the desktop pc into the same port, the light is green.

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May 19, 2013 at 04:56:15
So why am i seeing this list?

That is normal. The wireless interface is just listing all the available wireless routers it can find. Yours should be among that list somewhere. Any with a little yellow icon next to them is unsecured

If you don't want to use Wireless just disable wireless in the router and disable the wireless interface in the lap top,


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May 19, 2013 at 17:37:30
Perhaps useful to know/be aware of...

You can restrict access to your router (via wifi) by using the MAC filtering routine. This is part of most (all these days?) routers management/security settings for wifi. This approach will make it harder for unauthorised users to access/use your router - and ride on your dsl service... It is the minimal level of security one can use.

Essentially you restrict access to only those MAC addresses stored in a list (in the router). You need to know the MAC address for each "wifi" user (the MAC address of the wifi adapter in their computer) you wish to allow access you router. And then you set the option to "these addresses only" (or whatever/however your router describes it).

This is often the first line of defence, as it does offer a (albeit a basic level or) degree of protection; and is then best followed/supported by a suitable encrypted "key" (128bit ascii - typically a mix of letters and numbers - which you choose/create.) All authorised users must know this key, and enter it when required in order to access/use your router (via wifi).

In a list of available wifi systems/routers any that are "secured" (or locked to unauthorised users - those who do not know the "key") usually have a symbol next to them in that list; typically it's a padlock; but may not always be that symbol. If you attempt to access (logon to) any router that is secured (WEP/WPA or similar key) you will be prompted for the required "key". And generally you can set your logon access to remember your details (i.e. that you know and have provided the key).

You can also hide the SSID (the router's name) which is otherwise broadcast for all to see.. But then all authorised users' must know what it is and provide that too when searching for and logging on to it...' Whereas if it's broadcast (but router is secured) they just need to know what to look for and know the required key. You can also often change the name of the router (change it SSID - and broadcast that...) to make it less obvious what make it is... And with some dsl providers... they broadcast their name (along with a number related to "your" service/account/router) as part of the SSID (but not necessarily including the actual make of the router); which may/may not be to your liking/preference either... (SKY in the UK do this, as does Virgin...) Depending on who your dsl service is from, depends on what you can do in terms of changing keys, SSID etc...

Depending on the make/model of router the Cat-5/ethernet connection/port indicators may/may not be lit at all if nothing connected to any give port. Equally if they are all lit regardless, then any that are in use will logically change to a different colour (e.g. green). My (rather elderly by current standards) Speedtouch only shows green indication for each cat-5 port that is active (something connected to it); otherwise each port indicator light is unlit... This was also the case for many older Netgear (wifi) routers.

Incidentally does anyone know if the security key set by Netgear is indeed "unique" to each; as in different for "every router they make/sell? Logically it might (ought) to be; but then again it might not be. I'd be inclined to change it to something "I" choose; and keep records of what I change it to in locations various... Hard-copy - with suitably vague reference as to what it refers to; and even similar emails to a couple of decent/secure email accounts - again with very vague references as to what it refers to (memory jogs as it were...).

Some years back there were instances of owners of at least one USA make of car in different parts of USA/Canada having the same remote key code... Granted the cars were sold a distance apart - opposite sides of the continent...; but nonetheless delegates at a conference or three (on the west coast USA) found out that they could access another car; i.e. another identical model, and drive it away - which did in fact happen (in error)... I think (I hope) which ever manufacturer it was did something to resolve this issue; they did at least acknowledge it as a remote possibility... Sadly with most domestic electronics etc. most folks leave factory set passwords/keys as received; and the determined hacker usually knows what they are likely to be (if there is info re' the make of router broadcast as part of the SSID)..., or can soon work out what it is based on his/her previous information/experience... But change the key (at least) and it becomes much harder (almost impossible) for them...?

But in answer your initial (simple) query... As "phil22" advises... delivered from Netgear with factory security settings already enabled... then yes it ought to be secure... And his advice to change the key at least is sound.

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May 20, 2013 at 07:20:03
Incidentally does anyone know if the security key set by Netgear is indeed "unique" to each; as in different for "every router they make/sell?

I'd wager it's about as unique as the username/password used to login to the management interrface on a factory router. Which is to say, I'm betting it's the same one on all their equipment. I would definitely change the encryption key no matter what.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***

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May 20, 2013 at 15:57:39
Hi Curt... You echoed my thoughts exactly... Trvlr

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May 20, 2013 at 16:44:31
Thanks to all those who replied.

But I'm not sure if I was clear with my original question: I'm not and never have been connected to the net wirelessly, its always been by cat-5 cable to the modem. Which is why I asked, if i'm on cable, can other people feed off my modem wirelessly? But judging from the answers so far, its "no".

StuartS: yes my modem is on the list at the top with icons showing bar graphs representing signal strength.

trvlr: the generic ID/password is admin/password but under the modem are the actual SSID & password codes.

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May 20, 2013 at 21:59:48
If the WLAN is enabled, then it's possible for someone else to wirelessly connect to your network and use your internet.....regardless of whether your computer is wired or wireless.

If you're using a wired connection, just disable the wireless then you'll have no worries.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***

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May 21, 2013 at 09:49:27
If the router is secured - at the least MAC filtering but ideally a with a key as well... - then no-one ought to be able to connect to and use the router to access the internet etc... If there is no even minimal level of access control (e.g. MAC filtering...) then yes they can access it and thus the internet etc...

The SSID/key pasted to the bottom of your router is obviously there for your memory jog etc. If you enable the wifi aspect and check to see what is showing on the list of routers broadcasting in your/the immediate vicinity, you will (or ought to ) see yours listed. If it is secured then it will indicate that somehow. If it isn't secured... then that too will be indicated...

The default admin/password combination is typical of just about all routers sold on the market. My elderly Speedtouch uses "exactly the same combination" to access it's settings via the Speedtouch home page... But of course it's normally via a cat-5 connection; as if using wifi to that end... unless one is able to logon to the router (via wifi) one can't actually get there...

If you elect to change that combination - the password at least (I'm not sure you can change the "admin" bit...?) then be sure you keep a note of what you change it too. As before, email - suitably vague etc. references to what that info. refers to(?) - and also even a hard-copy "somewhere safe/secure" is a way to ensure you do have means of remembering it... If you feel OK about the memory jog being pasted onto the bottom of your router too - why not..?

But as Curt R suggests, if you're not using wifi and want to feel even more secure.. simply switch it off? I use cat-5 most of the time; but as I have an iPad amongst assorted Mac and PC kit I do leave the wifi active - but secured... (MAC filtering and a 128 bit key)!

Overall I dislike wifi etc. running around chez-moi... Whilst the consensus is varied and not settled re' wifi and its effects on general health, after a lifetime in the broadcast profession... I do have my own feelings about it all. I prefer not to have wifi floating around if possible...; but as my neighbours on both side are radiating... it does seem to be pointless in disabling my own (especially as it's needed for my iPad...). But once sufficiently away from others radiating... I prefer to use cat-5 or simply not go there at all... Also cat-5 is usually faster and more stable etc. than wifi overall...; which is why frequently we used to provide cat-5 ccts. as a backup to those using wifi when "live to/on-air..." More than a few times wifi has kicked out, and it takes time to reset and reconnect...?

(Mind you if the CIA, NSA, MI5/6 etc. are interested in you and what you're upto... they have their ways of getting around such mundane irritations and blocks you may use to secure your wifi...; and also cat-5 connections...)

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May 23, 2013 at 16:25:05
If you don't need wireless access for anything, simply disable wireless in your router's configuration utility then you know for sure that nobody can piggy-back on to your connection using a wireless laptop, tablet or smartphone.

But a WPA encryption key would be just as effective if you don't want to disable the router''s wireless function.

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May 26, 2013 at 01:09:11
I went into Netgear setup page, under Wireless Settings/Security Options, Mixed WPA-PSK + WPA2-PSK has already been selected.

However, under Wireless Access Point, Both Enable Wireless Access Point and Allow Broadcast of Name (SSID) are already selected but not Wireless Isolation.

So is it all ok or not?

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May 26, 2013 at 03:05:41 - explains that item. If you look further into the wifi security section it ought to show you if you are using a " key" or not. And if like my elderly Speedtouch, then it ought to allow you to select and view the key in use - from a list of keys already set up. You as the Admin can create/change any key and set that as the one to use.

When you view the list of wifi access points in your vicinity, and yours will be listed..., does it not show which are open and which are locked (open = unlocked/unsecured and thus anyone can use it)? If your is secured then it ought to say so?

If you google or similar for:

Netgear security settings

You will get some very clear info about it all; both from netgear snd assorted other input. Suggest you check a few of those hits too?

Even via my iPad the (Sky in this case) router I'm accessing is clearly showing that it (the Sky router) is secured - using their previously set key. So I would expect your Netgear to show similarly if it is secured, the key is set as enabled etc. in wifi management section via Admin aceess?

And as you state earlier that it has the SSID and key details on the bottom of the router, and is already setup for you, then it would be logical to presume your router is secure? But again, check if is shown as such when you scan for and view avaiable networks via you OS?

I would leave the wifi isolation unchecked/unused; for the reasons the link above alludes too. Whether or not you hide the SSID is matter or preference here. If system is secured then no harm to let it show, as hiding it means you and all aythorised users have know: what is, and enter its details when initially attempting logon to it. And if you disconnect from it manually then you will have to repeat the process. If your laptop/pc is configured to use it and connect to it automatically, then it will remember the details each time you log off/on etc. - until you manually disconnect from the router. Then your pc will not (usually?) remember the details - until you reconnect amd tell it to...?

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