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10.3: Change Ethernet MAC address from the Terminal
Authored by: babbage on Nov 10, '03 11:23:24AM
..and not so much for security, just privacy. I'm sure the logs of where/what we surf/share etc. are based on this number, since it's the easiest to find out over a network and would be least likely to change.

Huh? This smells like paranoia to me. If any network activity is logged (web servers, mail servers, etc), the vast majority of those logs are going to be keyed off IP addresses, not MAC addresses.

The point of a MAC address is to be a globally unique identifier for a particular piece of network hardware. The point of an IP address is to be a managed, locally unique (as in, no duplication on the network you have direct access to, which might or might not be the public internet) identifier for routing traffic to & from that machine.

For TCP/IP traffic -- i.e. the internet, web, email, ssh, ftp, etc -- the IP address can be thought of as roughly the "atomic particle" of address information. On the other hand, the MAC address is like a "subatomic particle" -- it exists at a lower level, it has different properties that don't correlate to those of the level up, and for the most part it's of interest mainly to people in specialized fields.

So. Yes, it is possible that your MAC address is being logged somewhere, e.g. at your ISP. But for the most part, the IP address is a much more useful nugget of information. The Apache web server, for example, logs the IP address by default, but I don't even know if it's possible to get Apache to log all MAC addresses -- that piece of information isn't normally available to a web server, unless you're running software that specifically transmit that piece of information to the server for some reason (e.g. iTMS, allegedly).

Some people in some specific circumstances might have a legit reason to change their MAC address. From what I've read elsewhere in this discussion, cable modem users can avoid some bureaucratic red tape by this technique. I know that some server machines provide a mechanism for swapping out MAC addresses to assist in network resource management. But for most home users, I just don't see the point -- privacy certainly isn't the best reason to do this, because your IP is still logged all over the place, and it's much easier to track you down with that data than with a MAC address. If that's the only reason you'd want to change your MAC -- don't bother, it's unlikely to change anything at all.

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10.3: Change Ethernet MAC address from the Terminal
Authored by: MobileMac on Jan 27, '04 03:33:09AM

Hi,
I really need to change the mac-address to join a big secure DHCP-network. The new mac-adress is generated by the systemadmin. On about 5000 PCs this networksystem runs properly with this method.

Is it possible, that the mac for incoming packets can be changed in the network-settings--->DHCP---> DHCP-Client-ID ?

Hagen



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