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Old 08.03.2011, 21:35
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Is it really impossible to know who's using my wireless?

Hello! I never imagined that my first post would be something like this
Still I hope somebody can tell me a good news!

To make it short,

I'm using Swisscom ADSL at home and only my previous laptop, i-phone and current laptop got 16 digits of passwords saved.
4 weeks ago, old laptop got stollen with other stuff.. reported to the police.. ect, ect.

Strange enough, I realised that wireless is in use while my other two devices are off. Called Swisscom and they confirmed that the network was used at that time. Though it's not possible to scan the usage nor information of user.. well, he said, technically it's possible but they will only do further investigation if it's serious case.

I haven't changed the password yet.. and yes I still have a little hope.
Can I see who's connected to my wireless at least? Anyone knows?


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  #2  
Old 08.03.2011, 21:39
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Re: Is it really impossible to know who's using my wireless?

Even if your devices are off, the ADSL modem might still be accessing the internet.

If you can log into your ADSL modem router, it will likely show you MAC addresses / IP addresses that are in use, rarely more than that.

Best bet, once you change the modem router credentials, change the Wireless Network key as well.

PS: As you are now in CH and not in Osaka, click here to modify your public profile. And welcome to the forum.
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Old 08.03.2011, 21:40
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Re: Is it really impossible to know who's using my wireless?

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Hello! I never imagined that my first post would be something like this
Still I hope somebody can tell me a good news!

To make it short,

I'm using Swisscom ADSL at home and only my previous laptop, i-phone and current laptop got 16 digits of passwords saved.
4 weeks ago, old laptop got stollen with other stuff.. reported to the police.. ect, ect.

Strange enough, I realised that wireless is in use while my other two devices are off. Called Swisscom and they confirmed that the network was used at that time. Though it's not possible to scan the usage nor information of user.. well, he said, technically it's possible but they will only do further investigation if it's serious case.

I haven't changed the password yet.. and yes I still have a little hope.
Can I see who's connected to my wireless at least? Anyone knows?


Yes you can - but I can't remember how ! Somebody competent will come along in a little while
Just change the password and maybe the wireless name- unless you think the thief lives next to you and this is a way of catching him...
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Old 08.03.2011, 21:58
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Re: Is it really impossible to know who's using my wireless?

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Hello! I never imagined that my first post would be something like this
Still I hope somebody can tell me a good news!

To make it short,

I'm using Swisscom ADSL at home and only my previous laptop, i-phone and current laptop got 16 digits of passwords saved.
4 weeks ago, old laptop got stollen with other stuff.. reported to the police.. ect, ect.

Strange enough, I realised that wireless is in use while my other two devices are off. Called Swisscom and they confirmed that the network was used at that time. Though it's not possible to scan the usage nor information of user.. well, he said, technically it's possible but they will only do further investigation if it's serious case.

I haven't changed the password yet.. and yes I still have a little hope.
Can I see who's connected to my wireless at least? Anyone knows?





Wireshark.
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Old 08.03.2011, 23:18
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Re: Is it really impossible to know who's using my wireless?

Indeed, but it does come with a well-justified Health Warning
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Old 08.03.2011, 23:18
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Re: Is it really impossible to know who's using my wireless?

Do I understand it correctly? He is still using your wireless network, with your laptop? If so he must be a neighbor, and....

The frequency bands are certainly high enough that with a good directional antenna you could probably figure out which house/apartment he is in. I can imagine that it might be interesting trying to explain it to the police though "You see, when I point the Pringles can in that direction the signal goes up..."

And on the other side of things, it is probably technically possible to set up/adjust/replace your wireless router in such a way that it logs what he does on the internet. In spite of him using your laptop, there might be wiretapping/privacy laws to consider here, and I certainly would not want to recommended doing anything against the law. So be careful if you go this route.
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Old 09.03.2011, 00:00
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Re: Is it really impossible to know who's using my wireless?

You should have a password on your router and a password on your network. If you do not have this then you should switch off the wireless access using your control panel access.

The problem is that if your neighbour is doing something naughty, (maybe watching child pornography) then the computer police will come to you first and you will also be subjected to a deep investigation.
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Old 09.03.2011, 09:40
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Re: Is it really impossible to know who's using my wireless?

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And on the other side of things, it is probably technically possible to set up/adjust/replace your wireless router in such a way that it logs what he does on the internet. In spite of him using your laptop, there might be wiretapping/privacy laws to consider here, and I certainly would not want to recommended doing anything against the law. So be careful if you go this route.
On his own router, trying to prevent a 3rd party from using his/her network ? I don't think so.

hus2347: What kind of encryption does your router support - WEP, WPA, WPA2 ? I suggest to move to the highest available encryption (supported by both your router and your other devices connected to the wireless network). In case your devices do not support at least WPA you may want to upgrade your hardware - WEP can easily be cracked.
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Old 09.03.2011, 10:21
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Re: Is it really impossible to know who's using my wireless?

First off I'd log into the router and enable MAC addresses filtering, then enter the wireless MAC addresses of the two devices that you are using. This should stop other devices logging onto your network even if they do have the password. It's not entirely infallible as MAC addresses can be cloned, but it is a pretty solid brick in the wall.

Secondly the traffic you're seeing could be coming from the iPhone (assuming it's in standby and not actually fully switched off). These things do appear to "phone home" back to apple periodically without giving any visible indication of doing so - Having checked the logs of my iPhone I can see that it has been communicating over the net, despite me not using the phone at the time. This will also occur if you've set up the Mail app to check automatically, or you have an app running in the background which polls the net for updates.
__________________
...allegedly.

Last edited by Slaphead; 09.03.2011 at 10:42. Reason: Typo: fallible - infallible
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Old 09.03.2011, 10:30
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Re: Is it really impossible to know who's using my wireless?

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First off I'd log into the router and enable MAC addresses filtering, then enter the wireless MAC addresses of the two devices that you are using. This should stop other devices logging onto your network even if they do have the password. It's not entirely fallible as MAC addresses can be cloned, but it is a pretty solid brick in the wall.
What he said, also, hide your SSID.
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Old 09.03.2011, 11:23
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Re: Is it really impossible to know who's using my wireless?

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What he said, also, hide your SSID.
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First off I'd log into the router and enable MAC addresses filtering, then enter the wireless MAC addresses of the two devices that you are using. This should stop other devices logging onto your network even if they do have the password. It's not entirely infallible as MAC addresses can be cloned, but it is a pretty solid brick in the wall.
if you want real security, forget about mac filtering or hidden ssids. instead:

- enable WPA2 security on your router
- choose a long non-standard (E)SSID name
- change the password to a very long password following standard password best practices (you can have up to 63 characters)
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Old 09.03.2011, 11:39
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Re: Is it really impossible to know who's using my wireless?

I thought the purpose of the OP was to determine which devices were accessing his wireless, to work out if the stolen laptop is in the vicinity. Most of the responses address a "someone is stealing my wireless, how to block them?" type query which wasn't asked.
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Old 09.03.2011, 11:42
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Re: Is it really impossible to know who's using my wireless?

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I thought the purpose of the OP was to determine which devices were accessing his wireless, to work out if the stolen laptop is in the vicinity. Most of the responses address a "someone is stealing my wireless, how to block them?" type query which wasn't asked.
this was already answered in posts 2 and 6. conversation has moved on, do keep up, old chap
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Old 09.03.2011, 12:18
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Re: Is it really impossible to know who's using my wireless?

As mentioned, hide SSID, setup Mac's (every network device has a unique number which you can setup in the admin tool of your wireless device). Add WPA2....

In your admin tool ,you will probably have a window to show the 'active' network connections.

You can also use something like this: http://www.softperfect.com/products/networkscanner/

to see what devices are connected.....
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Old 09.03.2011, 12:44
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Re: Is it really impossible to know who's using my wireless?

Of course , all those flashing lights could just be RIP talk and not actually anyone using the router. If the SID is being broadcast, and it is a powerful N router, then there could be no end of harmless wireless traffic, as people walk by and find his router , or a neighbour may have picked it up, or a laptop with roaming switched on somewhere in the building may be trying to get on... There are no end of reasons for seeing the router active. The ISP will certainly not store any data about the connection being used other than MAC address of the router and IP lease times etc. If the router is switched on, then according to the ISP , the connection is being used.
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Old 09.03.2011, 17:54
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Re: Is it really impossible to know who's using my wireless?

Sniffing a hidden SSID takes less time than it took to post this to the thread.
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Old 09.03.2011, 17:57
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Re: Is it really impossible to know who's using my wireless?

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Sniffing a hidden SSID takes less time than it took to post this to the thread.
not to the average user, that leeches outta the first network he sees
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Old 10.03.2011, 23:26
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Re: Is it really impossible to know who's using my wireless?

Don't know how I can thank to all of you!
To tell you the truth, I'm not so sure if I understood everything but managed to log-in to my router. So I confirmed 3 different MAC numbers in the log stats. 2 are my current ones and the last one.. who knows.. until it happens, I didn't even know what is "MAC number"

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Even if your devices are off, the ADSL modem might still be accessing the internet.

If you can log into your ADSL modem router, it will likely show you MAC addresses / IP addresses that are in use, rarely more than that.

Best bet, once you change the modem router credentials, change the Wireless Network key as well.

PS: As you are now in CH and not in Osaka, click here to modify your public profile. And welcome to the forum.
Thanks jrspet! Your post is 100 times more worth than 2h 40min of talking the service cente to me. And yes, I changed my profile at first!

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Do I understand it correctly? He is still using your wireless network, with your laptop? If so he must be a neighbor, and....

And on the other side of things, it is probably technically possible to set up/adjust/replace your wireless router in such a way that it logs what he does on the internet. In spite of him using your laptop, there might be wiretapping/privacy laws to consider here, and I certainly would not want to recommended doing anything against the law. So be careful if you go this route.
That breaks my heart. We are living in the old family house and have close relationship with our neighbors. Wish I could do what you mentioned.. Thanks anyway!

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hus2347: What kind of encryption does your router support - WEP, WPA, WPA2 ? I suggest to move to the highest available encryption (supported by both your router and your other devices connected to the wireless network). In case your devices do not support at least WPA you may want to upgrade your hardware - WEP can easily be cracked.
WPA2!!

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First off I'd log into the router and enable MAC addresses filtering, then enter the wireless MAC addresses of the two devices that you are using. This should stop other devices logging onto your network even if they do have the password. It's not entirely infallible as MAC addresses can be cloned, but it is a pretty solid brick in the wall.

Secondly the traffic you're seeing could be coming from the iPhone (assuming it's in standby and not actually fully switched off). These things do appear to "phone home" back to apple periodically without giving any visible indication of doing so - Having checked the logs of my iPhone I can see that it has been communicating over the net, despite me not using the phone at the time. This will also occur if you've set up the Mail app to check automatically, or you have an app running in the background which polls the net for updates.
Once I understand fully, I will do that filtering.. am bit scared to mess up current setting.. Thanks!!
Well, In order to make it sure that it's not my iPhone, I turned off wifi and lived with 3G for a while

Last edited by Slaphead; 11.03.2011 at 07:34. Reason: Fixed quote syntax for one quote
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Old 13.04.2011, 15:23
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Re: Is it really impossible to know who's using my wireless?

To return to your original question about how to track down the location of the device that is accessing your AP. You can identify wireless clients of your AP and the signal strength from the clients. (Look on the internet for sniffer programs.) Using any bog standard wifi enabled laptop - triangulate from 3-4 locations. Using a map, ruler and a compass you should be able to find their approximate location. Avoid trespass by letting the police do the close up stuff if they're interested. The TV licence people in the UK do exactly the same trick - although its probably harder with flat screen TVs.
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