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  • Writer's pictureBurton Kelso, Tech Expert

How To Find and Remove Unknown Devices Connected To Your Wi-Fi Network

Updated: May 27

How to Avoid Virtual Kidnapping Scams.

I know many of you are losing sleep worrying if some cyber crook is snooping around your wifi network, looking for information that will help them gain access to your user name and passwords that will allow them to hack into your social media accounts, email and financial websites. Fear not, in our digital world it's nearly impossible for hackers to gain access to your home or business network. Seriously. 99% of cybercrime requires user interaction, which means as long as you're not clicking on links in emails and text messages as well as not using weak passwords for your wifi router, you're safe. However, there's nothing wrong with checking your wireless router now and then to see if any unknown devices are connected. Follow these tips to keep the bad guys from connecting to your wifi and avoid being the free neighborhood hotspot.

Download and Use Your Router app. Every router manufactured in the past five years has an app that allows you to change your settings as well as see how many devices are connected to your wifi network. Your router app can remove unknown devices giving you peace of mind when you see a strange device show up on your network. You can also log directly from your router from your computer or smartphone to see what devices are connected. You would need your router's IP (Internet Protocol) address. If you're not familiar on how to achieve this, you would be better off using the app. Additionally, if you're using a router from your Internet Service Provider (ISP), you should be able to call them and they can give you an idea of what devices are connected.

Use an IP Scanner. An IP scanner is a tool you can use to find out what devices are connected to your wifi network. One of my favorites is Angry IP and it works on Windows and Mac devices. If you prefer to use your smartphone, try Fing. Both apps will scan your wireless (and wired) network to let you see what devices are connected.

Identify those unknown devices on your network. Most manufactures have labels for their devices when they are connected to a home or business network. This makes it easy for users to identify devices on their network when you use an IP Scanner or look into the settings of your router. If you see a device you don't recognize, you can use the MAC adress for identification. A MAC (Media Access Control) address is a unique 12-character alphanumeric or hexadecimal number that identifies a device on a network. It's also known as a hardware or physical address, or burned-in address (BIA). This is different than an IP address which gives devices an address to reside on a network. If you find a device you aren't familiar with, visit This website will give you a clue to what the device is.

Other Tips to follow:

  1. Set up a Guest Network. If you have family members and neighborhood kids who insist on using wifi when you visit or have an office and you want your customers to be able to use wifi, setup a guest network access with your router. This will allow those guest to connect to the Internet without risking them access to your main network. Guest network access is great because you can turn off the guest network which prevents anyone from connecting whenever they want.

  2. Hide your Service Set Identifier (SSID). An SSID is the identifier for your wireless network. Its purpose is to let your devices know which network to connect to to join a home or business network. Under normal circumstances, your SSID is visible to help you easily connect to your wireless network. To keep your wifi network secure, you should go into your router settings and make it invisible. When it's invisible your home and business neighbors are well as criminals can't see your wifi name to connect. Only you will know and only the people you share with will know.

  3. Going Through a Breakup, remove your partner's access. If you're breaking up with someone, make sure you remove their devices from your wireless network. There's no reason someone you're no longer involved with should have access to your wifi. Same thing with employees you've let go. When you continue to allow them access, you increase the chances they can log into your network an conduct some malicious acccess.

  4. Change your Wi-Fi password from Time to Time. You know the drill, treat passwords like underwear. Change them frequently.

  5. Replace your router every five years. Internet technology changes frequently which means if you want those speeds your internet provider promised you, you need to switch out that router. WHen you change out your router, you also remove access to anyone who connected to your old one.

Under most circumstances, it's impossible for someone to gain access to your wi-fi network. Unless at sometime in the past you gave someone your wifi password, no one is hacking into your router and network. Sometimes if you spot strange items connected to your wifi, these may be smart home items such as wifi cameras connected.

 Hopefully, this will help you keep an eye out for anyone who manages to get access to your wifi. If you have any questions, please reach out. I'm always available.

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The above content is provided for information purposes only. All information included therein is subject to change without notice. I am not responsible for any direct or indirect damages, arising from or related to the use of or reliance on the above content.

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