How can I find out whether my internet connection is being manipulated or intercepted?

Tina October 27, 2010
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I have a roommate and we share an internet connection. He is connected via LAN cable to an ethernet hub. I connect through WiFi. The WiFi router is connected via cable to the same hub. The WiFi connection is WEP encrypted, my roommate wants it this way.

Sometimes, I cannot go online even though I am connected to the WiFi network. The cables are connected properly, restarting the WiFi router or computer does not help.

This usually happens when my roommate is at home and skyping with friends. When I complain, which I cannot do until he is done skyping, it miraculously works again.

Can he intentionally block my internet connection?

Also, how can I find out whether he is “listening” to my network traffic. Specifically, I want to find out how I can block him from reading my eMails or seeing what websites I browse. Being my roommate he knows the WiFi password and has physical access to my computer.

He has mentioned using on his friends, which reinforced my previous suspicion that he somehow intercepts my internet connection.

I run Windows XP on a laptop. I have the login data for the WiFi router and could change the settings.

Yes, I will be moving out, but I cannot move out until December 1st, so I need a solution for the meantime. Thank you very much in advance!

  1. Monegar
    November 4, 2010 at 12:34 am

    Change the password to the router, and make a new secure user's profile for your use only.

  2. WhyDontWeRed
    October 30, 2010 at 5:05 am

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  3. Gbswales
    October 28, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    the skype connection getting priority is probably the most likely explanation - most people dont snoop so is there any reason why you think he might be - if he wanted to monitor your traffic then blocking it would not be the most sensible way to do it. Its more likely that he wants keep high quality calls/videos from breaking up on skype.

    If you really do suspect he might be monitoring your connection then they only safe thing to do is simply not use his network

  4. Josh Fox
    October 28, 2010 at 6:24 am

    If he is using spybuddy or any keylogger, I would try using an OS that the keylogger doesn't support. Ubuntu would probably be the best start since you can install it inside Windows with Wubi.

    If you have access to the router's administration, you can find out what services are being ran or if there's anything setup in the port forwarding or something that specifies your computer's name or IP. You might also want to see if outbound traffic is set to go through a proxy. The router might also maintain logs of the traffic as well.

    The only other thing I can think of off the top of my head would be if he is running network anylizing software on his own computer to scan the traffic of the network. This method wouldn't make it so emails or passwords are readable though.

    There are a LOT of ways to spy on local network computers, so I know there are a lot of things I missed, but I think I touched the major areas.

  5. Mark O'Neill
    October 27, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    This guy sounds like a real sleazeball. You said you are moving out in December but for the next month, I would look into buying a UMTS stick which is basically pre-paid internet. I have one for when we are travelling and it works great.

    • Tina
      October 27, 2010 at 11:27 pm

      Too expensive. My current workaround is to spend little time at home and use internet at cafés or the library.

  6. GeekLad
    October 27, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    If he has access to the router, he can do everything you're suspicious he is doing. He can block your access and he can access the data you're transmitting/receiving via packet sniffer.It's possible that he has some sort of QoS on the router enabled that gives his Skype connection a higher priority, which is why your connection goes to crap when he's Skyping.

    If you want to prevent him from snooping on your connection, you may want to try Tor. However, be aware that although Tor will provide security and anonymity while you surf, it is rather slow. Firefox has a good Tor plugin you can use to turn it on and off at will.

    • Tina
      October 27, 2010 at 11:27 pm

      Thanks Jorge, you are awesome!

      I have access to the router, too. Anything I can do to find out what he is doing? Would love to prove it. I can also go online direct via the hub using a LAN cable, would that help? A hub doesn't allow installation of software, does it?

      • Josh Fox
        October 28, 2010 at 6:29 am

        A hub is most generally just a passthrough device, kind of the same idea as splicing network cables together, so no, nothing could be installed on it unless it's actually a router (subnet), or a switch. Regular switches are uncommon in residential settings except for those built into routers.

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