MAC Address Spoofing
The device you are currently watching has a network interface controller (NIC) that is responsible for allowing you to connect to a network such as the Internet. All network devices like smartphones, laptops, routers have one of them. Each NIC is assigned a unique, hard-coded MAC address that cannot be changed.
However, almost all popular platforms such as Windows, OS X, or Linux and therefore Android support MAC address changing quite easily. The fact that we cannot change the MAC address embedded in our network card does not mean that we cannot make other devices think that our MAC addresses are different from others.
Regardless of what information leaves our device, we are in control. The header of the packets that make up our data contains the address of our device, the MAC address along with the IP address, and a lot of other information.
So, our operating systems allow us to instruct the NIC to ignore the built-in MAC address and instead use our own MAC address, which can be whatever we want.
This is called MAC address spoofing.
What Is MAC Address Spoofing Used For ?
MAC spoofing is cool. We are interested in spoofing MAC addresses because it allows us to make other devices think we are someone else.
This opens up many attack vectors for the hacker.
This allows us to carry out man-in-the-middle attacks.
It can help us hack Wi-Fi networks
This allows us to directly target devices connected to our local area network (LAN).
If you are not allowed to use a public Wi-Fi hotspot, spoofing your MAC address might make your router think you are some other device.
There are also several legitimate reasons for spoofing a MAC address.
Configure multiple virtual machines in a corporate environment, each assigned a random MAC address.
It can be used to enhance anonymity. An insecure local network can track you by your MAC address. If your MAC address is constantly changing, they can no longer do this.
Let’s take a look at an example.
Let’s say you are using Wi-Fi and your friend is also connected to the same network. Now, when you first connect to the router’s Wi-Fi hotspot, you exchange some information with the router. You ask the router for a connection, enter the password, and if successful, the router responds by opening the connection for you. The router now knows your MAC address and you know your MAC address.
Now, if you change your MAC address to look like the MAC address of your router, you can make your friend think he is accessing the router, when instead, all of his network traffic goes through your device. This is an example of a man-in-the-middle attack, and this technique could allow you to monitor unencrypted traffic (HTTP), redirect the user to some other websites, or replace all the images they see with images of cats if you wish to.
Can a Website Detect Your Real MAC Address Spoofing ?
No, MAC addresses are limited to the LAN segment.
For example, they are only used by a router to distinguish between devices connected to it, but the MAC address is never sent from the router to the Internet.