Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Why You Need To Change MAC Address?

I have been asked many times this question, in person as well as over email. Many people are clueless that you can even change MAC address and give open challenges, so forget that they would know why there is a need to change a MAC address.

Some people think that websites on Internet can track users using MAC address and so they must change it! Well, your MAC address wont go further than the first router the IP packet gets to. Its because, MAC address is used as unique identifier at data link layer (OSI layer 2), like for example your local Ethernet, while the IP packet being forwarded over Internet is at network level (OSI layer 3) and uses IP Address as a global unique identifier (which websites can see and track). And when an Ethernet frame reaches a router, the router's MAC address is used to send the frame forward. So, clearly this is not a reason to change MAC address!

There are many reasons you would want change MAC address, some legitimate others not so. I am listing some of the legitimate reasons while you wonder what the other reasons might be!
  • Your ISP uses MAC address to identify or authenticate your Internet connection. So in case your network card goes boom, the new card you replace it with will have different MAC address and so the Internet wont work. So changing the MAC address to old network adapter is the quickest fix instead of telling your ISP to register your new MAC address which may take lot of time.

  • If you want to access a network, which limits access based on MAC address, from another machine then you can change MAC address to the one for which you have access. Note that only one computer would be able to access the same network (no two computers can have same MAC address on same network to access it without any problem)

  • A very important reason is privacy. Your MAC address can be seen by everyone on the local Ethernet network using many simple tools. A hacker on local network thus can track machines (and thus you) on the network. This is especially a threat when you are on a wireless network and are using a public WiFi network like in coffee shops, hotels or airports.

  • If your original MAC address is revealed, an hacker can use it to impersonate you! On many networks (wired or wireless) access is restricted based on MAC address to avoid access to unauthorized devices on the network. So, when you go offline, someone can use your machine's MAC address and access the network as 'you'.

  • You can get a new IP address lease from DHCP server by changing MAC address. On many networks, DHCP lease is set to last many days or is associated directly with a MAC address such that you get the same IP address all the time.

The reasons I listed above are just the ones that came to my mind while writing this post. There are many more reasons (sometime bizarre) to change MAC address.

If you change MAC address for some reason not on the list above, do post it as a comment below.

    134 comments:

    1. Used the software to set my NIC to the MAC of my Xbox. Once I logged into the hotel internet access site, I could then connect the Xbox directly to the hotel hardwire. No bridge required for Xbox live...most useful.

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    2. Computers eh? The Windows 7 mac address changer is worth downloading. It certainly saves having to mess around changing the mac yourself via registry.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. I guess you didnt see what the purpose of this blog actually is! If you havent yet seen Technitium MAC Address Changer, I invite you to visit Technitium MAC Address Changer home page and have a look at it.

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    3. You should really consider making a paid version of this software. I been using it for the last couple months for my virtual machine. Very satisfied. (I used to have problem with "mac address have been used") Thank You.

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      1. Thanks and welcome. I have a commitment to keep this software free.

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    4. My Device is

      MediaTek MT7118 WiMAX USB Card #2 - Packet Scheduler Miniport

      Green Packet Bhd (Address: Lot 1-4, Incubator 2,

      Problem is: When I click the Change button. it shows the following dialog.

      Run-time error '1':
      Device Not fount

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. USB network adapters may not work with TMAC.

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      2. Hello, I wonder how to change MAC address on a USB network adapter? If Technitium MAC Address Changer can not do it, is there a manual way to do through windows registry?

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      3. TMAC itself changes MAC address through windows registry. So, there is no other way that I know of otherwise, I would have added it in the software itself.

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      4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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      5. I Have seam Device it Has No Login Page I want to find a way to change the mac address

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    5. When I tried to change MAc Address it shows the flowing error.

      runtime-error "1"
      divice not found

      I m using Qubee Rover Modem, Shuttle Modem. OS is Windows XP Sp3, RAM 1GB

      is there any solution? I am waiting for your response.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. In case, you are trying to change MAC address for USB network adapter, its not supported by TMAC. If you can post some more info on the type of modem/service then I can know more to explain the error.

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    6. Hello. I have registered to a site a lot of times always from the same computer but with different names. every time I was identified like the same person although have changed for every name l' ip, the MAC with TMAC, the name host. How the site does to understand that I am always the same person?

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. A website cannot know what your MAC address is. It can know your public IP address which normally is dynamic and you will get a new IP every time you connect to internet.

        The way sites track users is using browser cookies, flash cookies & ETags. So you can just set your browser to clear cookies when it closes. I would recommend you to use Firefox browser with BetterPrivacy addon which can clear flash cookies when browser closes. Also, make sure you clear your browser cache so that all the ETags are flushed.

        Best is to create different profiles in Firefox using Profile Manager (start firefox with -p option, google for more details). Every profile created has its own cache, history, cookies etc. so its best to have when you need complete separation.

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      2. Thank you.
        So you can not avoid that some sites read information by Flash?
        In the site of BetterPrivacy "via Flash they can access and store highly specific personal and technical information (system, user name, files,...)."

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      3. You can as I mentioned earlier. If you use BetterPrivacy addon then it will delete those cookies. Other option is going on Adobe website and clear them manually from the flash settings manager.

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    7. When using Technitium, will it forever change the MAC address or is it just temporarily (and for how long)? Also, would this possibly cause issues with the registration of the OS (i.e. if the MAC address changes after OS registration, will the OS notice this and thus flag it as illegimate)?

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      Replies
      1. Changed MAC address will stay until you revert to original MAC address. The changes are made only in software and wont affect any other thing.

        There is no issue with OS registration, however some software do use MAC address to identify the computer and thus may not work. There are very few software that do use it though.

        Some internet service providers (ISP) too use it as additional parameter to verify customers. In such case, the internet connection wont work after changing MAC address. You may use this tool in such case to use Internet on another computer by changing its MAC address to the one registered with the ISP.

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      2. StorageCraft Shadow Protect http://www.shadowprotect.com/ Backup and Disaster recovery software is one software that will fail activation if you change your MAC address. They do not like to keep resetting your activations due to using Technitium. I have since stopped using ShadowProtect running in Windows and now only use the recovery CD and it has eliminated the issue. Just an FYI

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    8. mine question is very simple dear, the question is how can i change my sagem gigaset wimax device mac address? if the original mac is "98-8B-5D-CE-G5-HJ" then how can i set my desired MAC in device? or is it possible to change device mac permanent??


      Your better and Fast response should be highly appriciated..

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      Replies
      1. You can change MAC address of only your computer's network adapters using TMAC. For modem/routers check the admin panel for options.

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      2. My ADSL modem have a MAC spoofing option, what does this mean ? plz reply...its very important .

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    9. i have already check all the options but failed, i search a lot on google but unable to find. Last night google droped me on ur blog. I saw ur posting it seems that u r the man who can help me. I have all required informations that u may need. Hope u wil help.

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      1. Ohh ok. But if the device admin panel doesn't provide with option to change MAC address then its not possible to do so. You may though try to update firmware to see if any such feature was added by the manufacturer.

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    10. i have tried all the latest or old firmwares, but still not able to change it.. any help??

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      1. I dont think there is any option to do it sadly.

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      2. So Man i have usb Modem Media tek and i want to change Mac address so There is no way to change it how can i use update firmware and what is "firmware" are there any program i should install it on computer

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    11. Hi,I Have a problem with a small library network(because i forgot the torrent open..and they don't believe me that my purpose wasn't to download The Big Bang Theory but studied) ! and so I change my Mac Address..now i can access normaly,the question i have is: Can the Admin find that i change my Mac Address...the library network save that Computer A12345 had Mac Address XX-XX... and now the same computer has different Mac Address ? or save only the Mac Address? also I change only 2 numbers it is good change? or bad? thanxs :)

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      1. I don't think the admin will be able to find a machine with new MAC address unless he is specifically monitoring all the machines that connects to the network.

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    12. Although the standard says each network adapter should have a unique MAC address, there are cases where the vendor didn't do so. The first generation Ethernet shields sold for the Arduino are an example - they have NO default MAC address.

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    13. Can admin find that i change my MAC Address ?

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. If by 'admin' you mean local PC administrator then you should understand that changing MAC address requires you to have admin privileges.

        If you mean network administrator, then it would really be very difficult to spot a different MAC address in a big network.

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    14. for example: I change my mac address in my house,in a coffee where i have banned because download music can find that i change my mac the next time i visit it?

      thancs

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      Replies
      1. not unless the owner knows you in person and finds you connected to the network.

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    15. It is better to change my MAC Address random or only change 2 numbers ? thanxs

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. random is better, why to let there be a doubt?

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    16. MAC spoofing and MAC cloning are same ???

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    17. mr. admin, please tell me the different between MAC spoofing and MAC cloning..plase sir reply..

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      Replies
      1. There is no difference as such, both refer to changing MAC address. The words used are specific to the context.

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      2. If i spoof my router's MAC then my ISP can show my original router MAC address ??? plz reply SiR...

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      3. I cannot understand your question.

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      4. can i change my router mac address ?

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      5. yes you can change router mac address from the router web admin control panel.

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      6. If i change my router MAC address then my internet service provider can see my router original MAC address ???

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      7. No. Your original MAC address is not used to send data frames.

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    18. I have how to change mac address of Media Tek MT7118 WiMax USB card? Any suggestion

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      Replies
      1. Check out if there is any option driver advance options section. Dont know any particular solution for it.

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    19. Mr.Admin I've broadband conn. so I want to clear my MAC address of my LAPTOP from the server of internet provider so I can connect my PC and register new MAC and I can access the internet.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. You have two options - either you contact your ISP and get your PC mac address registered or, you can change your PC's mac address to the one belonging to your laptop to access internet. If a wifi access point is dialing the connection to ISP then you dont need to worry about changing mac address at all.

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    20. Mr.Admin, i've broadband connection. i want to clear my old router mac address from my ISP and connect my new router. what i do ?

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. If you know MAC address of the old router, then just set it in the new router to connect to internet without contacting your ISP.

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    21. My ADSL modem have a MAC spoofing option, what does this mean?

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      Replies
      1. It means you can change MAC address of your modem's network interface just like you can change that of your PC. Its useful in case when ISP has registered MAC of your modem which got burned out and you have to replace it with new. With MAC address of the old modem set in new, you would be able to access the Internet without having to contact your ISP.

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      2. it means when i change my modem's MAC address my ISP cannot see my modem's original MAC address .

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      3. Changed MAC address will only be used to send data so, ISP cannot know your original MAC address.

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      4. OK, thank you soooo much...

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    22. Hello Shreyas,

      While there are a plethora of use cases and examples related to Wireless LAN Card's MAC ID spoofing, I am yet to find an explicit article or use case or demo of Wired NIC's MAC ID spoofing, which has raised some queries in my mind as follows:

      a) Is it at all possible to spoof Wired LAN NIC's MAC ID?

      b) If "Yes", then suppose a PC's Wired NIC's MAC ID is spoofed by another MAC ID spoofing program and then TMAC is installed on the same PC, can TMAC determine if the Wired NIC MAC ID has already been spoofed? Alternatively can TMAC differentiate between the hard coded Wired NIC's MAC ID and the spoofed one?

      c) Could you please kindly explain the basic fundamentals / principles behind the above query i.e.: How TMAC or any other application (may be a non spoofing application as well) can find out/fetch the original Hard coded Wired NIC's Mac ID bypassing the OS / Registry?

      Would be excited to learn from your responses to the above queries.

      Regards

      DK

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Hi,

        a) you can spoof MAC address for both wired and wireless.

        b) Changed MAC address is actually stored in registry. So, if a particular registry value is set then it means the MAC address is changed. TMAC however compares the active MAC address that it reads from the Windows API dll and the MAC address in registry. But, if MAC address was spoofed prior to installation of TMAC then it wont be able to read original MAC address from Windows API to compare.

        c) Like I mentioned, if the MAC address is stored in registry and its equal to current active MAC address that Windows API returns, then it means the MAC address for that adapter is spoofed.

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    23. Hello Shreyas,

      Thank you for the response and clarification on the queries. I may be want to connect with you (through an email) in order to discuss and explore the possibility under point (b) of my query to detect a pre-spoofed MAC ID.

      Regards

      DK.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. sure, you can email me any query you have.

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    24. Hei Shreyas, can you tell me which dsl modem support MAC address cloning from D-Link ? Means, i can change the modem's original MAC address...plz bro tell me..

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. You must note that a DSL/ADSL network doesn't have MAC address, it's Ethernet specific. So, for a modem, there is no MAC address. You will find the feature however on Wifi access points.

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    25. I create and modify websites from a specific laptop; and I fear that when a few of those sites get popular, their security might be at risk.

      How difficult is it for an average hacker to catch the original MAC address of that laptop *after* spoofing it?

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. A hacker needs to be on your lan network to find your mac address somehow and leverage it.

        Attacks like man in the middle or impersonation are possible if the hacker knows your mac address. Other than that there is not much of a risk.

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    26. HOW CAN WE KNOW THE MAC ADDRESS OF SOME OTHER PERSON OR MY ISP FROM MY HOME.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. You can know MAC address of all machines that are on your LAN network. Just ping that machine's IP address and then use this command to get the MAC: 'arp -a'

        For a machine not on your network, you can use NBTSTAT command. This however will get blocked by firewalls.

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    27. HOW CAN I HIDE MY LAPTOP MAC ADDRESS FROM MY ISP (BSNL BROADBAND) ?

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. If your laptop is not directly dialing PPPoE connection with ADSL modem in bridge mode, then your MAC address is already hidden.

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    28. Hi Shreyas

      I was banned from a free advertising site,I didn't do anything wrong they seem to delete accounts when they have had them for a while. I tried to open another with different email, name etc. but I couldn't. What information will they have to be able to recognise it is me from my computer and network?

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    29. Thank you so much for such a wonder full application. I am just curious that how safe is this application. No offence, please don't feel bad, does it send you our mac address when we install it and use? Is there some code to do so in this application? just asking.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Welcome and thanks for compliments. Apart from the automatic update check (which can be disabled) and manual vendor list update from IEEE, TMAC wont connect back to any server. No personal or statistical information is collected during the update process.

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    30. love you man i used ur mac changer...n im happy
      i cloned my admins pcs mac address n assumed her ip address
      eg:my ip 172.16.1.22 changed in admins ip:172.16.1.2(with mac)
      than i got free service without login...hahaha...

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    31. Bro I got my laptop stolen.dell inspiron 15r 3521
      I talk to company representative.
      He will give me mac address.
      But some 1 told me that changing lan card changes ip and mac address.
      Please bro clarify me everything.
      Regards

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. I am really sorry to know that. MAC address belongs to the lan card but, in case of laptop and most desktops, the lan card is embedded onboard the motherboard. Replacing it separately is not possible other than changing the entire motherboard.

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    32. Hi, someone knows my computer's mac address(both wired and wireness), from log file, I saw Dos Attack. So I was wondering changing mac address using software has same effect of physically changing network card?

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Changed MAC address will be used for any data being transmitted. Your original MAC address wont be disclosed.

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    33. Should I buy new computer? Someone knows my mac address. I see my computer acting strangely. Mouse cursor moving by itself. Or just changing mac address by software has the same effect of changing network card

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. You don't need to buy new machine. Just get it clean installed from original Windows DVD. Your computer is most probably infected with some malware. Make sure you backup your data first on external media before doing it.

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    34. Is there any way to bypass the error when you try to change your Wi-Fi card's MAC address to start with 00?

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. The error is due to restrictions in place by the drivers. Read this blog post for more info.

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    35. Hello
      someone is asking for my MAC ID?
      what does it mean?
      and how i can get it?

      thx

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. From the command prompt, type ipconfig /all
        You will see a line that says "Physical Address". That is your MAC address.

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    36. Here are two cisco mac addresses. 64:9E:F3:66:9A:C5 and 70:CA:9B:A7:3C:77

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    37. I have heard by friends complaining about TMAC software that I degrades the power of the wifi card. They were hardly connecting to any wireless networks. I am using this software for a while and I really like it. The only threat to me is will using this software hamper to the performance of the wifi device of my laptop?
      Thank you

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. I assure you that there is no fact in whatever you have heard of. Changing MAC address doesn't affect hardware or performance in any manner.

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    38. Can I Backup My Original Mac Address??

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. You don't need to backup original address. You can revert to it without remembering it.

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    39. Hello admin,can i change my adsl modem mac add?i can just using one adsl modem connect to internet using ppp id and password,when using the same id and password at the same time with another adsl modem,it will no connect to internet,failed authentication,can i use same mac address,and use the two modem at the same
      time using same id and password without any problem?

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    40. you cannot do that as ADSL network is different that the Ethernet that you use locally. ADSL modem works on analog telephone network and the account access is managed by the telephone company centrally.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Can you explain in detail that why mac spoofing doesn't works on ADSL broadband?

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      2. This is since ADSL uses different layer 2 protocol and establishes a point to point connection the ISP server.

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    41. can the server track you via computer id? such as u logged with different ip but same computer?

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. There is no such thing like "computer id". However, many websites do manage to track users with fair accuracy. I had written a blog post regarding this which you may want to read.

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    42. Can I install a paid sing user antivirus more pc to change same mac address

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    43. is it is possible to trace my laptop even after changing my MAC address? and
      if i change my os will the new MAC destroys and changed to the previous one??

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Over the network it will be difficult but, if the network operator starts tracing your activity node by node then its possible to find you. It will be very difficult though if the network is vast & complex. Secondly, change of MAC address is a windows registry setting which will be lost if you format and reinstall OS.

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    44. i just figure it out of changing mac address on my lappy; go to cntrl panel>device manager>search for network adapter. MY QUESTION--> admin, is it possible if we can change mac address again and again(changing more than 2 times)? pls reply ASAP

      *sorry for my weak english

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Yes, you can change MAC address any number of times. Changing MAC address using TMAC or Device Manager is one and the same but, some device drivers don't include 'NetworkAddress' settings in the advance options.

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    45. Greetings and nice program.. =]

      Using windows 8.1 ... my original mac address starts with 04 .... changing the address works fine at home .... but not in coffee shops as address starts with 02 ...... I have to revert to my original mac to able to connect.

      Any help much appreciated.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. It may be possible that those coffee shops are blocking addresses that start with 02. But that is just a guess and there may be some other reason. You can try out with another laptop to confirm it.

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    46. does changing mac address frequently , affects the motherboard or any parts as in ROM ,whenever mac address is changed it is written in to it??? so there must be a life of rom.frequently writting over it may damage the motherboard..is it true??

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. The change of MAC address is done entirely at software level. There is no actual overwriting of existing value at the hardware level.

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    47. Why I suddenly get unidentified network after changing mac address worked for months and now impossible

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    48. Any idea why I suddenly cannot connect to the internet after changing mac address ? keeps saying "unidentified network"

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Check the IP address you are getting allocated by DHCP. Check the gateway and DNS settings too.

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    49. troubleshooting says "connection" doesn't have valid IP configuration I am not sure what r you saying but I cannot see default getaway or dns after changing mac address

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. It seems that the DHCP server on the access point is not assigning a valid IP address. Your network adapter should have an IP address in range of 169.254.x.x assigned windows itself. You need to check with your router/access point.

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    50. sounds and looks like it, it's an optical fiber network from ISP which goes straight through my router to my computer I'm using cheap router which has no setting menu... Should I buy new router ?

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. You need to contact your ISP support to get help. It may be possible that your ISP is authenticating customers based on their MAC address and thus with a changed MAC address you are not getting network access.

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    51. How can change Banglalion Wimax Wifi Router moden's MAC? Its connected To PC throw LAN cable.
      Help.
      Abdul Hannan

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. You will need to login to the router via the web control panel and check for option to change MAC address. The router firmware may or may not support changing MAC address.

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    52. Does mac spoofing works on dsl connection?

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. No, it works only for Ethernet networks. ADSL uses different layer 2 protocol and establishes a point to point connection the ISP server.

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    53. i have my pc bann , so im planning to change my mac adress to play my game again, im being accused so dnt worry im using it in good way, im asking if is it safe for a player like me ussing technitium mac changer?. or they can even detect you if u change your mac adress with a fake one? pls asap . need answer

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. If the game is a desktop application, they can technically read the registry value to find out if MAC address was changed. So it depends if they have this detection feature in there or not. If the game is not a desktop app then there is no way they can detect it.

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    54. im going to use technitium mac changer cause my pc got banned (accused cheating) but not true,, dnt worry im ussing it in good way, im asking if is it safe to change my mac adress with a fake one? or the game server Tech can still detect if my mac adress is being faked? if yes how long before they can detect it?

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    55. Hello guys i have Media Tek MT7118 WIMAX USB CARD I tried to change it's mac address using more than 10 programs many times but i couldn't Change it, it has no option to change the Mac address pleas help me ....
      name: MediaTek MT7118 WiMAX USB Card #2
      company: wimax
      My email: mohamadsalah1995@yahoo.com
      MyFacebook: Facebook/mohamad.salah.524596
      Thank you every one

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. MAC address change is possible only with Ethernet and Wireless Ethernet adapters. WiMAX and other USB devices do not support this.

        Delete
    56. Sir I am mistakenly bought the stolen laptop. When I am connecting the internet it always locked the laptop. Then again I am boot OS again. So I can't connect the internet. I am bought this by my all money. Please help me if I am change my Mac address may I get benefit by that!! Please reply to me si

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Sorry to know that. Changing MAC address is not going to help you in this. I think you should contact the laptop vendor's support to know what options you have in this case.

        Delete
    57. Hey man, great software, i used with this setup once vpn-vm-windows and it worked fine, now in my vm im using a whonix gateway that makes a tunnel to windows but when i change the mac in windows this time it will change the mac but then i dont have internet anymore.

      Any clue of what is going on?

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Changing MAC address of network adapter used for VPN tunneling makes no sense. You dont need to change MAC address for tun/tap adapters. There is nothing that you get for changing MAC address in such case.

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    58. In my vpn im running whonix gateway to windows 7, i can change the mac adres but then i dont have internet.

      Any clue?

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Changing MAC address of network adapter used for VPN tunneling makes no sense. You dont need to change MAC address for tun/tap adapters. There is nothing that you get for changing MAC address in such case.

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    59. hello can you put an auto change function on your software like for it to be able to change th mac address evry X hours or minutes by itself that would be a lot helpfull

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. You can do that easily using Windows Task Manager. You just have to configure Task Manager to run TMAC command line options at the required time interval and it would work.

        Delete
    60. I just started using this app for spoofing wifi to keep using xfinity's complimentary hour. It worked on my friends pc but not on mine. Everytime I change the mac address it'll say "unidentified network" when I connect to xfinity network. Is there a fix for this?

      ReplyDelete
    61. I started using this application for spoofing wifi, but everytime I connect to xfinity wifi it says "unidentfied network" and won't allow Internet access. Is there a fix for this?

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. After you change MAC address, you can release and renew the IP address lease to fix this issue. You can use the command ipconfig /release and ipconfig /renew or you can use TMAC Action > DHCPv4 menu to release and renew IP lease.

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      2. seam Thing is with My computer, i thing it is because your wifi card doesn't accept That , or some thing else i down't know it .
        Thanks For sharing your pb.

        Delete