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Old 08-12-2011, 05:26 AM
Nils Kassube
 
Default Cloned MAC address?

Bill Stanley wrote:
> I was exploring the GNOME desktop and found something interesting.
> When right clicking the Network management Applet icon there is an
> item that says "Edit Connections". I clicked on this and then on
> one of the items, "Auto Eth0", which the applet says is never used.
> There is nothing interesting yet but one of the options is "cloned
> MAC address". Is a different MAC address reported to the Internet
> instead of the actual MAC address? I don't intend to do anything or
> do any editing of the settings, I am just curious.

Usually a hardware interface has a preset MAC address. However for most
(all?) interfaces you can overwrite the MAC address by software. This is
particularly useful if your ISP has a setup where you can only connect
with a specific MAC address. Then, if you replace the hardware that
connects to your ISP, you could set the new hardware to that previously
used MAC address to connect again without calling them to request a
change in their setup for your new hardware.

OTOH, this feature is also the reason why MAC address filters for your
WLAN router are useless - everybody can fake the address of a station
that is allowed by the filter.


Nils

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Old 08-12-2011, 05:46 PM
Bill Stanley
 
Default Cloned MAC address?

On 08/12/2011 01:26 AM, Nils Kassube wrote:

Bill Stanley wrote:

I was exploring the GNOME desktop and found something interesting.
When right clicking the Network management Applet icon there is an
item that says "Edit Connections". I clicked on this and then on
one of the items, "Auto Eth0", which the applet says is never used.
There is nothing interesting yet but one of the options is "cloned
MAC address". Is a different MAC address reported to the Internet
instead of the actual MAC address? I don't intend to do anything or
do any editing of the settings, I am just curious.


Usually a hardware interface has a preset MAC address. However for most
(all?) interfaces you can overwrite the MAC address by software. This is
particularly useful if your ISP has a setup where you can only connect
with a specific MAC address. Then, if you replace the hardware that
connects to your ISP, you could set the new hardware to that previously
used MAC address to connect again without calling them to request a
change in their setup for your new hardware.

OTOH, this feature is also the reason why MAC address filters for your
WLAN router are useless - everybody can fake the address of a station
that is allowed by the filter.


Nils


That is exactly what I thought! In essence, you are not giving to the
Internet the true MAC address of the network hardware. Of course this
could be done for a good reason or for some nefarious reason.


Bill Stanley

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