Wireless Network Tapped?

rohopish

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 12, 2006
45
0
Hey everyone,

I set up a wireless network about a month or two ago; my first time doing so. I have my Sympatico modem hooked up to a D-Link Wireless router. My original decision to do so was so my mom could set up her computer using the same internet connection as me. With the router, she bought a wireless card and I just use airport. Mine connected no prob, as her's did. Now, she sold hers and only my computer uses the wireless connection. My internet connection has been on the slow side lately (I use Safari, MSN Messenger, etc.). Would it be possible that someone in the range of my wireless router is using it without my consent? My internet isn't password protected (I don't know how to do that) but I have my firewall on on my Mac Mini. So, basically, what I'm asking is: could someone be "tapping" my wireless router which could make my internet slower than it should be? Thank you so much for your help, because I'm worried someone is stealing my internet connection that I pay for.

-Bobby
 

waste46

macrumors newbie
Jun 4, 2006
6
0
LI Ny
it is possible someone could be using it but the chances that you would see such a big decress in speed would probably not come from someone "tapping in"
 

joebells

macrumors 6502
Oct 24, 2005
425
0
If by tapping you mean intercepting everything you send then that would make no difference in speed but if by tapping you mean using your access point then yeah there's always that chance and if they were filesharing or something similar it could really be impacting your speed. You need to look at your routers connection dialogue first and see if anyone else is listed in it. You also need to turn on security of some sort wether simple mac filtering(which is simple to get around) or somethign else
 

motulist

macrumors 601
Dec 2, 2003
4,064
334
If you are afraid someone is "tapping" in to your computer itself and taking stuff from or putting stuff on your hard disk then open activity monitor and click the network tab. If you have no other programs open then data in and out/sec should be zero.
 

Makosuke

macrumors 603
Aug 15, 2001
6,166
350
The Cool Part of CA, USA
rohopish said:
...Would it be possible that someone in the range of my wireless router is using it without my consent? My internet isn't password protected (I don't know how to do that) but I have my firewall on on my Mac Mini. So, basically, what I'm asking is: could someone be "tapping" my wireless router which could make my internet slower than it should be?
Since you haven't protected it at all, depending on where you live it ranges from possible to quite likely. For example, if you were in an apartment building full of college students, the chances that one of them WASN'T using it occasionally would be pretty low. If you live in a big house with only a couple of neighbors, then it's a lot less likely unless one of the neighbors felt like making use of your connection.

The firewall on you computer protects IT from external attacks, but does absolutely zip to protect your internet connection from others using it. In fact, it also does zip to protect any data you're sending to or from the internet from being monitored by someone so inclined--you need wireless encryption to have any hope at all of protecting yourself from that. (This of course doesn't include "secure" connections, the ones that show a lock in your browser, like when you checkout at an online store and send your credit card info--that data should be safe. It's "in the open" data like regular pages you surf to or your e-mail that can be evesdropped on.)

If you're only using the wireless connection with a desktop now, and aren't inclined to learn how to protect it, then you might as well just ditch it and hardwire your Mini. If that doesn't speed up your connection, then it's slow for some other reason.

Note, by the way, that at least in college towns or areas with geeky populations, it's not all that uncommon for people to leave their connection open intentionally, as a way of sharing with others nearby. To give an example, for a while there was an open wireless network in range of my house named "Whuffie", a reference to a book that is a fairly clear indication that it was shared intentionally to build up "good karma" so to speak. Light sharing of a connection--basic web browsing, for exampe--isn't likely to impact your speed noticably (heck, I can't even tell when my wife is watching streaming news video while I'm surfing). Only if the people leeching are downloading big files or maybe online gaming would it have a noticible effect.

Incidnetally, you could log into your wireless router and see who's connected, if you want--check the manual for how.