Q&A: Can You Explain About Networked Devices and How I can Protect My Home Network

Lola asks:

Hi Jack, I love your site and I want to thank you for all the helpful info and how to’s.

My question for you is: I have the Norton security suite for virus, firewall n all that is included in this package. O.k., on the My network security page there is an option with the network map and it shows all the devices on your network and it states that it will also show devices that should not be there or connected.  At this time, I have no devices hooked up i.e., printer, router, nothing that I know of any way. Now, since I uninstalled the router should there be any devices showing up on the network map because I get different devices popping up and I don’t know what they all are.  I’m new to computers and I’m still learning things everyday and this is really confusing and I don’t completely understand what is going on when all these different devices try to connect.

My main concern is that my next door neighbour’s (in apt. bld.) may be trying to get on my network or internet.  Is this possible with the router ?  Before, I uninstalled the router I was not aware at the time that you should change the password, so it was on admin, I think (I did not change to a new password).

When I delete the devices the neighbour throws things at the wall and shouts and curses and all that kind of behaviour which makes me suspect that something right is not going on.

I sincerely appreciate all the help you could give me. I am so Leary of getting on the internet and they will be able to see all my personal info, or any thing else for that matter.

Thank you very much Jack

Sorry if this is too long n (confusing?)

Hi Lola,

Thanks for your email, and I am glad you like my site and the information on it.

First of all, Norton Security Suit is an antivirus program, which has nothing to do with your network. It ensures that your computer stays safe from viruses. The following articles may help you:

Secondly, the term ‘uninstall’ a router is not really used or is valid in the IT industry. In basic terms, a router is a device that connects your modem (which connects to your internet) to all your other computers in your home through a LAN cable or through Wireless. The image below shows a typical setup:

Image from: What Does iiNet’s BoB1, BoB Lite, BoB2 and Wireless Bridge Actually Do, And Why Would You Want One?

The term ‘uninstall’ is usually used when you remove software on a computer. You ‘disconnect’ router from a ‘network’.

If you mean that you’ve disconnected your router, you should therefore not be able to connect to the internet on your computer, or see/connect to any other computer on your network, unless you’ve connected to your neighbours unsecured Wireless Network by accident.

The other thing is that you might be looking at is “Devices and Printers” which will show things like your computer screens, printers, USB drive, hard drives as you can see below. Windows 7 has the Device and Printers list, as well as the Network Map, which shows two different pieces of information. See the below images:

imageDevices and Printers

imageNetwork Map

I assume that in your question, you are referring to the Network Map image. This shows all the computers that are currently connected to your network and switched on. Since Windows 7 can see the DJLAPTOP and UNI computers, it can’t put them on the map due to the configuration of these computers such as operating system, and security settings, but there is nothing really to worry about if you know these computers and trust them. If other devices are appearing, that you defiantly know aren’t yours, then you have a serious problem, as someone else is likely on your network. If your computer isn’t connected to a network, nothing should appear.

By the sounds of your question, it does look like your neighbour is on your network, and when you kick them off, they complain. Therefore, I strongly recommend that you read “How To Check If Someone Is Stealing Your Internet” so you can secure your network, and stop them from using your download bandwidth. Also, make sure you secure your network now because they can do all sorts of damage, especially if you have shared folders on your computer. Do make sure you set a default password on your router, and setup a wireless encryption key that is not a WEP key. If you don’t, depending how clever your neighbour is, they could be stealing your credit card details all ready.

Lola, if you have any more questions about this, please let me know.

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