How to Stop Your Phone's WiFi from Revealing Where You Live?

Because your mobile phone sends your WiFi name continuously, and it's easy to monitor your location using these signals, your WiFi name is enough for someone to find where you live. However, stopping the transmission of your position will take a few minutes.

What Kind of Data Does My Device Share?

Your smartphone looks for trusted networks that you've previously added to your phone. Your smartphone connects to the trustworthy network automatically once you enter its range. It may appear convenient because you don't have to input the router's login key. Still, by continuously broadcasting joining requests, your smartphone transmits a great deal of sensitive information about you.

  • It sends your device's SSID Information. This information reveals all of the trusted networks you've added to your device.

  • It shares the MAC address of the device that made the request. This MAC address contains information about the device's manufacturer.

  • The linked router's MAC address.

All of this data can be processed in some way. Several apps, such as your home network, can collect the names of nearby WiFi networks. This information is subsequently shared with public websites, which use it to create heatmaps of WiFi networks. Even if you don't have such apps loaded, these websites can collect your data because if your neighbors have, they can receive the signals from your hotspot and share your info.

These websites are open to the public, so anyone from your office or college can access the information on your device. These websites might also give them access to your location. So all they need is the name of your wireless network. It's as simple as typing the wifi network's name into the search bar of these data-gathering websites. They'll have a detailed map of your home's location.

What Could Hackers Do with the Shared Data?

A hacker can find your home address only by knowing your wifi name, just as an ordinary person can. When paired with Wigle's data, these "joining requests" or "probes" are a gold mine. However, how might hackers discover your home's wifi address? That necessitates a little more technical know-how, but it's not too difficult.

A hostile individual can use a social engineering technique to discover your SSID name. They could, for example, pretend to be your Internet Service Provider and phone you or send you a phishing email requesting you to confirm your connection information. Another option is to employ WiFi scanners to intercept the probes sent by your device.

How Can You Safeguard Yourself?

Now let's see how you can safeguard yourself by taking a few simple precautionary measures −

Change the WiFi settings on your phone or disable it entirely

Even if your phone is linked to a WiFi network, it continues to look for other networks in the neighborhood. The simplest way to change this is to alter your settings or turn it off completely. If you have an Android phone, you can connect it to a WiFi network and disable WiFi scanning.

Simply go to "Options → Security & Privacy → Location access → Advanced settings → Wi-Fi scanning" to enable Wi-Fi scanning.

Users of iPhones can also change their wifi settings to prevent their phones from broadcasting joining requests. Go to Settings > wifi and click the 'Information' icon next to your home wifi once you've connected to it. Untick Auto-Join once you've arrived. You'll be able to manually connect to your saved wifi network (without having to re-enter the password). You can modify the settings in your iCloud Keychain if you are not connected to your dedicated network.

Change the WiFi signal strength

Some people believe that the more robust your WiFi signal, the faster you can access the internet. If you place your router in an open area rather than in your closet, you'll receive a better signal, but it doesn't have to be so strong that your neighbors can use it.

Reduce your WiFi strength to prevent your network from appearing on hotspot 'heat maps.' This can be accomplished by moving your router or altering its settings. The 'radio power' setting on most routers these days will modify the range of your signal. For more information, consult your router's technical manual. If you're still concerned about the speed, try a few bandwidthboosting tips.

Disable SSID broadcasting

The first two ideas are simple to implement. However, they may not fix the problem. Disabling SSID broadcasting is the best approach. This way, your wifi name won't show up on any 'heat maps,' and your neighbors won't be able to find it. You will, however, be able to connect to your WiFi by actively looking for it.

To turn off SSID broadcasting, log into the router as an administrator and update the broadcasting settings. You can learn how to do this in your technical documentation or by contacting your manufacturer. Linksys and Netgear, for example, have step-by-step guides on their websites.

Updated on: 29-Aug-2022


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