Why Should I Care Who Is Using My WiFi?
If you don’t depend on fast Internet access and are a generous person by nature, you might be wondering, “Why should I care who’s on my WiFi in the first place?” The answer to this question has everything to do with security and privacy.
As you may know, most modern wireless networks are encrypted. Wireless encryption ensures that anyone who doesn’t have the encryption password can’t snoop on you and possibly steal your private information. When someone joins your wireless network, either because the person has managed to steal your password or because you gave the person the password yourself, the encryption stops affecting your security with respect to them.
Depending on how your computer and other devices are configured, a stranger who joins your WiFi might gain access to the files that you share among computers, printers, and other connected devices. While it’s certainly possible to restrict access to these files, most people lack the required know-how, and it’s almost always easier to stop the intruder before the gates rather than allowing him or her to enter the town and then locking every door individually.
But perhaps the most important reason why you shouldn’t let strangers use your WiFi is security. The sad truth is that most computer users have terrible habits when it comes to security and seldom take even the most basic security precautions. If someone on your network gets infected by a dangerous strain of malware, the malicious software could spread to other computers and devices on the network. Some types of malware focus specifically on WiFi routers
, either using their resources for malicious purposes or taking advantage of their central role to attack as many people as possible.