Question regarding Wireless Internet Access in the home?

I just bought a laptop and hooked up a router. I was playing around with the information, I noticed that various other networks come up. I have seen several different names. Some show as Security-enabled, some unsecure, some as private. Since I am in an apartment complex, it doesn't surprise me that I may be picking up other people's wireless signal. But, I don't understand - first, is it possible for people to use my internet? Am I secure? Can they gain access to my computers? Since I can see them, it goes without saying they can see me - which is why all of these questions are coming up.

I guess I am just wondering, since this is new to me.

Thanks!

Shelly

10 Answers

Relevance
  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    You'll need to secure your wireless network with a password. Do you know how to access your router through internet explorer? Call the tech support for your wireless router and they'll walk you through the steps.

  • 1 decade ago

    There is a lot to learn about wireless network security. Try doing a search for setting up a wireless home network...you'll find all the info you need. To answer your questions:

    1) Unless you change the Broadcast setting on your wireless router, other people will "see" your wireless network as you can see their's.

    2) Yes, it is possible for people to use your internet if you don't set up security on your network. Its pretty simple- your router software should have some type of "Wizard" style program to walk you through setting up a security key so that you can use your devices on your network but no one else can use their devices on your network- if you turn broadcasting off- they won't even see your network (see #1 above).

    3) Are you secure- yes- but only if you setup the security. If you don't, others will be able to get onto your network and could possibly access your PCs- especially if you have sharing enabled on them.

    I know there are many specific answers here- but the questions you ask have very long solutions. Check out sites on the net- they will fill you in pretty quickly.

  • Tina
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    There are several different questions you must answer your self such before deciding on a technology. Cable is usually the fastest overall although it can suffer from local loop congestion. The cost is usually the highest and there is no portability beyond adding a router or WAP to extend the local area somewhat. DSL suffers from the lack of portability as well and is normally quite a bit slower than a cable connection. There is no local loop congestion. One drawback to DSL is that due to the popularity of cable, the DSL companies have arbitrarily extended the wire distances that are considered to be acceptable for the service to work properly. Therefore many DSL subscribers have found themselves locked in to a multimonth contract with a service that is not truely viable. In the wireless arena you have several choices! Many cellular companies are offering "broadband" connections with speeds conforable to DSL. They are portable and will work as long as you are in range of one of their towers. The problem starts when you leave the major metro areas as these services then slow down to dial up speeds. So these can be a good choice if you need portability and usually do not leave the big city. You will need a "special" wireless adapter for this hookup. Another wireless solution is Satellite internet, which carries very big startup and monthly costs. While actually portable the setting up of the dish is not a quick affair. This is a good choice for RV bound users that stay for a few days before changing location or for locations where there is no other service. Many municipalities are now offering wireless access using standard WIFI equipment. This can be a good choice if you are constantly on the move and do not want to deal with special equipment. Just beware that the wireless signal will not penetrate many building materials and you loose service entirely when out of range. So you can see that your particular situation must be looked at to choose the ideal ISP for your needs.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    These are all good questions. I suggest you turn off your Wifi router until you get them resolved. Consider this: when anyone exposes an unsecured WiFi connection you expose yourself to legal liability. Suppose you have a neighbor or a kid driving by in a car that searches for ways to make a bomb or browses through child pornography using your connection. As far as your ISP is concerned it's YOU doing this browsing. People using your connection can see EVERYTHING you do--every credit card number you use, the IRS forms you file for your taxes, everything you send or receive over the net.

    Yes, you must secure your WiFi connection. I recommend at least 128-bit encryption WITH MAC filtering. This prevents ANY computer except yours (even if some expert hacker cracks the WEP key) from accessing your WiFi router.

    I recommend that you hide your SSID (the name others see when their network radios search for available sites).

    I also recommend the book written by Dan Appleman that details in plain English how to set up a safe WiFi connection and keep it safe for you and your family.

    http://www.alwaysuseprotection.com/

    Dan has a lot of good suggestions on his site.

    hth

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Yes! To all of your questions.

    The "wireless" internet connections displayed in your Network information are all within reach of your computers wireless modem.

    There are secured or private connections with

    require a password to utilize. The password is

    determined by the person setting up the parameters of the internet connection--utilizing (usually) a WEP code. 8 or 10 digits.

    Insecure networks require no password and you are able to access them if they are strong enough and they appear to be from what you say.

    Your connection is accessible by others based on the same rules, however, it is highly unlikely that

    anyone within your network range has sophisticated enough equipment to access your computer. They can easily piggy-back on your internet service, just as you can theirs. But that

    isn't the same as accessing your data. Again, it can be done - accessing data - but it is a sophisticated process. Credit card hackers access store wireless systems to intercept information. Hope this explains a bit.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The short answer is yes, anyone with a wireless adapter can steal your internet, and anyone with more advanced skills could possibly gain access to your computers. To avoid this you have to put a WEP key on your network so only devices you specify can access it.

  • 1 decade ago

    Both Brent and Tim are correct. BUT I prefer to hide the SSID as well.

    Most newer wireless routers have this option. They can't connect to what they can't see. The only down side is that you have to remember your SSID to grant any additional connections.

    HTH

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    yes, if you have no security enabled.... anybody can connect.

    we had left ours unsecure because of previous hassle w\ our router, but my wife was asking me about some network share showing up and we looked at it and realized it was somebody elses computer sharing files in our 'workgroup'...

    i promptly enabled wpa and changed the name of our ssid to "no free internet here!''

  • 1 decade ago

    wireless always has alot of problems and yes you can get

    s__t from other people. if you can you need a land line a.s.p.

    your info. could get in the wrong hands.

  • 1 decade ago

    All is possible. Secure you router.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.