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Last post Author Topic: is someone stealing my bandwidth?  (Read 14202 times)

Jammo the OrganizedFellow

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is someone stealing my bandwidth?
« on: January 08, 2008, 02:02:09 AM »
For several months now, I've had some blazing fast wifi connection.
Just the other day, it began to get extremely slow. I've called my provider, and they state that there is no maintenance going on (this was the cause last time).
My wife suggested, that because it IS wifi, maybe someone is using my bandwidth?

How would I go about checking that?
I surf on a Gateway notebook running Vista (poop i know).
I was thinking there's like a small widget or app I can run that views my network ... orrr something?!
As an aspiring web developer/designer, it is a constant struggle to cope with my ADHD + Hypomania/Bipolar Disorder.

The slow growth of my web dev projects is eclipsed by my patience, understanding and desire to learn AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE as I slowly progress.

X_____jamjammo_____

J-Mac

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Re: is someone stealing my bandwidth?
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2008, 02:39:22 AM »
Quickest way IMO, assuming that this is your network and you therefore have access to the router software, is to go into the router settings when your connection is slow and take a look at the DHCP table. Or it might be called the routing table, depending on the brand of the router.  That will show you which computers are connected at that time - any that aren't yours, disconnect 'em!

Jim

PhilB66

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Re: is someone stealing my bandwidth?
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2008, 03:17:44 AM »
I may be wrong but even if someone "borrows" your wireless Internet access your ISP gets the traffic???

J-Mac

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Re: is someone stealing my bandwidth?
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2008, 03:23:14 AM »
I may be wrong but even if someone "borrows" your wireless Internet access your ISP gets the traffic???

Yes.  And I think that's what the OP is concerned about, among others.  If that person does something that your ISP forbids, guess who gets the boot?  ;)

Jim

Carol Haynes

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Re: is someone stealing my bandwidth?
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2008, 03:36:26 AM »
Probably the best long term solution is to ensure your WiFi is secured against outside users (WPA2 preferably as WEP is pretty weak).

If you have WPA2 enabled change the network security key/password and see if things improve instantly. Some routers use passphrases to generate a key. Make it a long one (as long as possible) with numbers, letters and other characters - save it to a text file so you can cut and paste it later if needed.

If you have a router with flashing lights look at it when your laptop is switched off - if it is still flashing someone is using it!

If you find there is no evidence of others stealing bandwidth then get back to your ISP. IME experience most ISP tech supports are run by drones in SE Asia because the services have been farmed out to cheap labour markets. Most of the time they read a script and don't know what to do if the problem isn't listed. Even when you do get someone who knows what they are doing it takes some effort to get past the inertial response "it must be your fault".
« Last Edit: January 08, 2008, 03:41:18 AM by Carol Haynes »

Carol Haynes

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Re: is someone stealing my bandwidth?
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2008, 03:46:28 AM »
I may be wrong but even if someone "borrows" your wireless Internet access your ISP gets the traffic???

True - but they will be using YOUR bandwidth via YOUR router to get to the ISP - so your own connection speed will degrade significantly - esp. if they are running something nefarious that uses a lot of bandwidth.

As already pointed out most ISPs will argue that YOU are responsible for what happens at your end of the phone line - even if it is not your computer and you don't know what is going on. The use of proper security is the only option these days in areas other than remote/rural areas where stealing bandwidth is unlikely. There have been plenty of cases of people being prosecuted for things that they inadvertently allowed to happen on their network. Ignorance is no defense in law.

Stoic Joker

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Re: is someone stealing my bandwidth?
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2008, 06:11:22 AM »
Have you tried restarting the router(s)? Some of them do get "moody" from time to time.

Have you tried using a hard cable to see if speed improves? It could just be a signal conflict with another device.

Have you tried the laptop in a different location (Work or friends connection)? It could just be broken.

Yes it's exciting to think you're being hacked... o_O ...But more often than not it's just some mundane hiccup.

f0dder

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Re: is someone stealing my bandwidth?
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2008, 07:25:55 AM »
Do you have a WiFi router used with a wireless network card (probably built-in), or do you have one of those WiMaxx connections? Ie., is the WiFi only for your local LAN, or do you have your *internet access* through WiFi?

The wireless-internet connections I've seen have always been oversold (which is scary considering that not so many people in .dk have adopted it), you can very clearly see the traffic impact when people get home from work...

If you have a "regular" internet connection and just a WiFi router/accesspoint, indeed be sure that WPA-SPK (not just WEP, ugh) protection is enabled. And a restart of the accesspoint can also help, like Stoic Joker said, it's amazing how unstable a lot of WiFi APs are >_<
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Jammo the OrganizedFellow

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Re: is someone stealing my bandwidth?
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2008, 11:13:02 AM »
gggrrr ... ya know what it was?

We have a desktop and my wife left uTorrent on.
She had downloaded Steal This Film and left it on. Plus I had to uninstall stupid Limewire - againnn!
As an aspiring web developer/designer, it is a constant struggle to cope with my ADHD + Hypomania/Bipolar Disorder.

The slow growth of my web dev projects is eclipsed by my patience, understanding and desire to learn AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE as I slowly progress.

X_____jamjammo_____

Carol Haynes

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Re: is someone stealing my bandwidth?
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2008, 01:16:54 PM »
That'll do it! But at least it isn't anything too sinister (hopefully).

I use UK BBC iplayer and Channel 4 On-Demand. Both use the Kontiki client to share downloaded files with other users but they are so heavy that surfing the internet crawls at dial up speed on fairly fast broadband. The only solution is to move the files once they are downloaded so that they can't be shared - unlocker is useful for this!

J-Mac

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Re: is someone stealing my bandwidth?
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2008, 04:14:14 PM »
A quick note:  I have read of folks who had their router wide open and others "overused" the bandwidth, causing the actual ISP customer to cancel their accounts because they were over-limit in bandwidth.  Look at the DSLReports forum and you'll see users moaning about Comcast (my ISP) cancelling them without even a warning. Of course they were the over users in those cases.  But if a neighbor gets on your connection and starts downloading and uploading 24-7, even via torrents - your account is what will get canceled.  so make sure you are buttoned up!

Jim

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Re: is someone stealing my bandwidth?
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2008, 09:14:49 PM »
Is it 802.11g or 802.11b?  Are you broadcasting your SSID?  If you use g but someone else is using b, everyone will have to suffer at b speeds.

Also try to change the channel of the broadcast.

J-Mac

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Re: is someone stealing my bandwidth?
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2008, 03:24:52 AM »
Is it 802.11g or 802.11b?  Are you broadcasting your SSID?  If you use g but someone else is using b, everyone will have to suffer at b speeds.

Also try to change the channel of the broadcast.

Actually if anyone is stealing the bandwidth they won't see a noticeable difference in internet connection, except maybe for streaming video.  The speed increase (est at 5X) is for data transfer within the network.  Plus, G has a shorter range so at more than about 100 feet the signal degrades to about the same as B.

Jim

iphigenie

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Re: is someone stealing my bandwidth?
« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2008, 03:44:38 AM »
I can't use WEP/WPA because I am using multiple access points with bridging, and the bridging in the brand I have dont seem to work with a key. :S

It's still the most robust set of kit I have had, and I used 2 different brands before that one.

But I can limit both wifi and network access by MAC which of course means that noone can use my bandwidth.
What they still could do, in the absence of WEP/WPA is snoop on the traffic, but that I don't worry too much about.

Carol Haynes

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Re: is someone stealing my bandwidth?
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2008, 04:14:31 AM »
It is pretty easy to spoof Mac addresses so it really isn't an effective security measure. OK it will stop the neighbours unless they are very determined but it won't stop people parked outside you home looking for unprotected WiFi.

I haven't played with bridging but what happens if you enable security with the same security protocol and code on each access point?

Carol Haynes

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Re: is someone stealing my bandwidth?
« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2008, 04:19:02 AM »
Actually if anyone is stealing the bandwidth they won't see a noticeable difference in internet connection, except maybe for streaming video.  The speed increase (est at 5X) is for data transfer within the network.  Plus, G has a shorter range so at more than about 100 feet the signal degrades to about the same as B.

If it is 802.11n the broadcasting range is much larger (Netgear RangeMax) - I now get full access speeds without network boosters around my home (which has thick limestone walls and internal block walls) with b and g networks previously I got very poor coverage. My ISP supplied a free 11g router/modem when I signed up but I can't get any signal upstairs at all.

f0dder

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Re: is someone stealing my bandwidth?
« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2008, 05:20:16 AM »
Ugh, no WPA? Isn't it possible to change your network layout? It's a really bad idea to run without WPA or WPA2 if you're living in a city. As Carol noted, MAC filtering will only keep your neighbor out, not people who are looking for free WiFi... and it's those people you should be concerned about.
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iphigenie

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Re: is someone stealing my bandwidth?
« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2008, 06:24:11 AM »
It is pretty easy to spoof Mac addresses so it really isn't an effective security measure. OK it will stop the neighbours unless they are very determined but it won't stop people parked outside you home looking for unprotected WiFi.

I agree it is very easy to spoof, but they would have to know what MAC address to spoof. That's a lot of combinations and I can't think of a way to find out the MAC address of my machines since they are in a fixed set up and not broadcasting or searching for other ports (most of the connection is wired except between the 2 bridges, and the occasional laptop)..

Also I live in a quiet suburban street and someone parked outside would stand out like a sore thumb, and besides there are easier targets just next door ;)

I haven't played with bridging but what happens if you enable security with the same security protocol and code on each access point?

I did try, but pretty much I can either have the security and 54Mbs (effective about 44), or I can have 125Mbs (more 100 effective) connection between the 2 bridges, but not both. Since I am not in a hugely busy area and I dont mind if someone snoops a packet now and then, I figured 100Mbs was worth it, since it is bridging between my office upstairs with several machines, and the router downstairs.

f0dder

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Re: is someone stealing my bandwidth?
« Reply #18 on: January 09, 2008, 06:26:50 AM »
I agree it is very easy to spoof, but they would have to know what MAC address to spoof. That's a lot of combinations and I can't think of a way to find out the MAC address of my machines since they are in a fixed set up and not broadcasting or searching for other ports (most of the connection is wired except between the 2 bridges, and the occasional laptop)..
They just need to sniff a little traffic, and then they have your MACs..
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Carol Haynes

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Re: is someone stealing my bandwidth?
« Reply #19 on: January 09, 2008, 07:06:02 AM »
Why not get an 802.11n router (the RangeMax stuff from Netgear is fantastic) and run everything off one secured router at 300Mbs ?

iphigenie

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Re: is someone stealing my bandwidth?
« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2008, 10:52:15 AM »
You are right about the security but...

I have several PCs upstairs and it gets pricey to plug them all with wifi cards.

Also I threw away 2 netgear (router and bridge) about a year ago as they just would not work reliably when 2 people played WoW on the network. Swapped for another brand and never had a disconnect again. It took netgear about 12 months to admit that they had a bug with WoW so I will not trust them for a while :S I'd stick with Asus or Zyxel but yes, I get your message. I could spend about £200 upgrading my kit just to prevent someone snooping/stealing my bandwidth.

But my PCs are very secure so all that can happen is them nicking some of my bandwidth for a short while... when my neighbours are much easier to attack (default passwords on routers!!!) so why should I bother? Especially considering I am putting cat6/cat7 cable in the walls and just need to take the time to plug it all in

I would never recommend anyone set up unsecured networks unless their pcs are very secure and they have a good reason. But you do get more performance that way, so there are a lot more unsecured networks out there than people ever expected.

Carol Haynes

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Re: is someone stealing my bandwidth?
« Reply #21 on: January 10, 2008, 11:42:23 AM »
Quote
But my PCs are very secure so all that can happen is them nicking some of my bandwidth for a short while...

May not seem like a big deal but it is ... if someone sits outside your house (or your neighbours) stealing your bandwidth and do something illegal (like downloading child pornography, uploading/downloading copyright music of video, running file sharing software for nefarious purposes) it will be you that the police come after because everything will track back to your IP address. OK so you may live somewhere that it is unlikely but some criminals literally drive around searching for unsecured bandwidth.

Some people have got into serious trouble with this in the UK and some countries are now starting to look at making unsecured WiFi networks illegal.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2008, 01:41:00 PM by Carol Haynes »

tomos

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Re: is someone stealing my bandwidth?
« Reply #22 on: January 10, 2008, 01:38:52 PM »
LOL01.png
Tom
« Last Edit: January 10, 2008, 05:15:32 PM by tomos »

f0dder

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Re: is someone stealing my bandwidth?
« Reply #23 on: January 10, 2008, 06:13:22 PM »
May not seem like a big deal but it is ... if someone sits outside your house (or your neighbours) stealing your bandwidth and do something illegal (like downloading child pornography, uploading/downloading copyright music of video, running file sharing software for nefarious purposes) it will be you that the police come after because everything will track back to your IP address. OK so you may live somewhere that it is unlikely but some criminals literally drive around searching for unsecured bandwidth.

Some people have got into serious trouble with this in the UK and some countries are now starting to look at making unsecured WiFi networks illegal.
Wasn't UK law changed so the person owning the WiFi is responsible for the data traffic, even if it was hax0red by someone else, or was that just a proposal or a nightmare of mine? :)
- carpe noctem

Carol Haynes

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Re: is someone stealing my bandwidth?
« Reply #24 on: January 10, 2008, 06:23:19 PM »
Isn't that what I said? Sorry if it wasn't clear.