If I let my neighbor share my WiFi can they see my network traffic?
The term `WiFi' is a contraction of "wireless fidelity" and is commonly used to refer to wireless networking technology.There are many ways you can set up a wireless network and all of them will have a hub and/or switch and/or router.The key differences between these devices will determine whether others can see your traffic.
A switch is a `smart' hub.A switch has the ability to `learn' where different computers are on the network.So if a computer sends information on port A and then switch `learns' that all information for this computer needs to be sent on port A and no other port is sent that information.
And a router is even a smarter switch and can even manipulate some of the communications.It is also the hardest to install and set up.If you are using a switch or router then these pieces of hardware should not be the reason your neighbor could possibly see you network traffic.However, there are other ways your neighbor can see your traffic.
There are two basic types of encryption currently being used, Wired Equivalency Privacy (WEP) and WiFi Protected Access (WPA).WEP is the older standard for protecting a wireless network and has known flaws.Hence, skilled hackers can exploit these flaws to gain access to your network.WPA is a fairly new standard for wireless networks and is much more secure than WEP.
If you are not running any encryption like WEP or WPA, then not only can your neighbor see your traffic, but anybody else within range can see the traffic also.If you are on a secure site like a bank using https:, then the traffic may not be understood because it is encrypted, but they can still see the traffic.
Additionally, everybody in range can possibly even see files on your computers and with easily downloadable free software can track the sites you visit and even capture some account names and passwords.The range of a WiFi can be up to 100 meters.If you live in an apartment building this could give a lot of people access.However, if you live on 50 acres then it wouldn't matter.
Another method people can use to hide their traffic is a firewall.However, a firewall is used to keep people from the internet out of your small network.If you have included your neighbor in your network, your firewall will not exclude them from seeing your traffic.