Networking & Wireless forum

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Can I track log-ons to my home wireless router?

by jmlhoumeau / April 4, 2006 8:21 AM PDT

I got home today ans saw internet activity (lights flashing) on my cable modem, but my computer was not on at the time. Is there a way to "see" who is connected to my wireless router or any other outside activity? Sorry if this is a nauseatingly redundant post, but I couldn't find an existing post/response.

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Link, comment.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 4, 2006 8:47 AM PDT
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Thank you for the link
by jmlhoumeau / April 5, 2006 1:20 AM PDT
In reply to: Link, comment.

Great site! I forgot to mention I am Mac only, but I am sorting through the Mac shareware links for a solution.


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There is syslog for the Mac.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 5, 2006 1:33 AM PDT
In reply to: Thank you for the link

Actually it might be a syslogd, but you get the idea. Many routers have syslog capability so we leverage that.


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BTW, Flashing light is normal
by Gakada / April 4, 2006 8:47 PM PDT

Because your ISP is also need to check and keep alive the connection..

It is possible that at the time your ISP is doing the checking.. but it may only for a couple second...

If it is more.. then.. you may have someone else trying or using your connection.

If you are affraid about such things.. then just turn it off when not in use... just like your PC..

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Good suggestion
by jmlhoumeau / April 5, 2006 1:23 AM PDT

I'll start turning off the router when not there, but now my curiosity is piqued. Thanks for the information.


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by kena10 / April 5, 2006 4:18 PM PDT
In reply to: Good suggestion

set up a MAC address table so only pc's on that table can access the router. Depending on the router, you may be able to create a log of attempts and successful connections but, in time it may become cumbersome to look at.

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routing/security on a bband network
by b_in_austin / April 5, 2006 11:08 PM PDT
In reply to: Or...

There are lots of uses for broadband and in the future, you may want to be careful about what you turn on/off. For example, someday you may want to turn on a VOIP service in your home. MAC blocking will block that as well and you won't be able to receive calls.

Security is one of those things that if you lock things down tightly, you can't really do anything either. It is a constant set of tradeoffs.

Back to your original question, different routers have various logging functions. Your PC/router is being scanned not only by your ISP but also by lots of nefarious systems looking for unprotected PCs and networks. Your installation of a router is a good first defense. You'll find that there is a whole lot more risk in just everyday Internet activity - nothing could be more dangerous than downloading from sources you don't know and trust.

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Mac address blocking
by Gravitas / April 9, 2006 2:18 AM PDT

On most wireless routers the mac address blocking is only on the WLAN side not the WAN and those that have an additional set of ethernet ports they are not included in the mac address filtering either. You have the opportunity to include all of the devices you use including any wireless voip devices. You should also be using WEP, WPA or what you have encryption.

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Some routers have logging capabilities, but...
by fleming_joanne / April 5, 2006 11:01 PM PDT

..even if you see anything in a connection log, it probably won't tell you much that is useful, since you most likely don't know the computer names or IP's of your neighbors computers. However, it might be reassuring if you can confirm that there is actually no one connected, and it's just normal, maintenance-type network traffic.

In your router configuration, you should probably be able to find an option (under security settings or perhaps under a "Logs" tab) to log access attempts with the results. Usually you can tell it to log only failed attempts or all attempts. If you tell it to log all attempts, you could then search through the log file for successful attempts at the time you see the activity.

Probably a more important question is do you have encryption setup on your wireless router? If not, or if you have weak encryption, you should turn it on, or setup stronger encryption (WPA instead of WEP, for example). It's a pain in the butt to setup and remember the lengthy password (make it long and not a dictionary word), but do it once and you'll be much more secure. Also, write down your passcode and keep it handy in case you later need to connect another device, such as your work laptop or a wireless pda.

If you do have encryption setup, and someone is still getting in, you should of course change your passcode.

As mentioned earlier, putting in MAC table filtering (along with WPA encryption) should make you as secure as possible (unless maybe it's the NSA who is using your wireless router...hehe). To hack this setup, someone would have to a) crack your passcode and b) guess and then spoof one of the few MAC id's that you have allowed access. Chances are, your [possible] bandwidth mooch would move on to easier conquests.

Here are a couple links that might be useful, concerning encryption:

hope this helps,

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by Themisive / April 5, 2006 11:43 PM PDT

Is the very reason that I will NOT have anything other than hardwired connections. I have always maintained that wireless connections are NOT secure - however much Bluetooth and similar providers say they are secure.

The most insecure connection I have is the one between my modem and the internet since that uses wirless. All connections otherwise are hard-wired and will remain so - for instance a neighbour has a wireless system for his computer, and EVERY night when he gets home, he logs on to the internet, Every night when he does so my TV shows some wierd harmonic patterns on the screen.

There are a few things you could do:
Hard wire your modem to your PC and telephone line.
Switching off when you switch off the PC.
Set up a logging system as was discussed earlier.

I'm sure there are many more, but I am not sure.

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Can I track log-ons to my home wireless router
by EarthKing / April 6, 2006 10:20 AM PDT

If you think someone is accessing your wireless router, you can set an WEP Encryption on it so that only somebody that has that number can log onto the wireless router. I would do that any way, if they download something such as music illegally that would come back on you as it was your IP address that was used to download it. Your Wireless Router CD or guide should have information on how to set up the WEP encryption and should make it safe from others. Just remember to save the encryption number somewhere or use one that you'll remember. Mine has 128 bit encryption so the number is 26 digits long.

My activity light on the modem flashes on and off most of the time when the computer is off, the router keeps and active connection with the modem, so it is communicating with the modem even while the computer is off.


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Can I track
by bavant / April 6, 2006 2:16 PM PDT

One thing i did not read here, is if your sys is clear of any trojans, root kits etc. As secure as you make your network against incoming traffic, and a router is good for incoming, if your system is infected, someone might already be using your computer from the inside. A good place to check would be

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