Get notified when unauthorized users access your Wi-Fi

Wireless Network Watcher is a free Windows app that tells you whenever new connections are made.

Unless you're a security pro, the odds are that you've at least wondered whether someone was stealing your wireless bandwidth. It's easy to check by examining your router's admin page, but that's hard to do with any frequency. Wireless Network Watcher is a free, lightweight app that pings when a new connection is made to your network. Here's how to use it:

  1. Download Wireless Network Watcher.
  2. Run the app. You may want to set Windows to run it automatically on booting if you find it handy, but for now, just fire it up.
  3. The first time you run it, you need to set it to alert you. Just click "Options," then select "Beep On New Device" and "Background Scan."
  4. Step 3: Set Wireless Network Watcher options.
    Step 3: Set Wireless Network Watcher options. Rob Lightner/CNET
  5. Next, press the "Start Scanning" button or hit F5. New connections will trigger an alert tone.

That's it! Note that some devices, like wireless printers, tablets, and so on, may trigger alerts, so check to see if any authorized devices recently connected before shutting down your network and devising new passwords.

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About the author

    Rob Lightner is a tech and gaming writer based in Seattle. He has reviewed games, gadgets, and technical manuals, written copy for space travel gear, and composed horoscopes for cats.

     

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