For privacy, how can I randomize my MAC address before connecting to wifi?

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pepperminty
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For privacy, how can I randomize my MAC address before connecting to wifi?

Post by pepperminty »

When I log into my Mint 19.3 Cinnamon desktop, I turn off the wifi (using the applet by the lower right corner, near the clock), then open the terminal, and run sudo macchanger -r -a wlp5s0 . How can I automate this?

On my Android 10 Samsung phone, the phone randomizes my MAC address before connecting, and I'd like to have that on my Mint, too. For privacy, I like to randomize the Mint computer's MAC address before connecting to the WIFI sudo macchanger -r -a wlp5s0. When I connect with the computer's real MAC address, connecting to the Wifi takes just one second. With some randomized MAC addresses of the same kind (-r -a) , though, it doesn't conect even after I give it 20 seconds. And rather than waiting for longer than that, I just run the command (sudo macchanger -r -a wlp5s0) again. Why is it that some MAC addresses of the same kind (-r -a) don't connect? Is it a limitation of the router I'm connecting to?

How can I avoid choosing randomized MAC addresses that don't work? Should I choose the --ending (shortened to -e) command?

Also, when should we use the --bia (burned-in address) setting?
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GS3
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Re: For privacy, how can I randomize my MAC address before connecting to wifi?

Post by GS3 »

I do not have an answer to your question but while somebody comes along with an answer I would ask if concealing a MAC address is really useful or even if it really does much if anything. Maybe my understanding is flawed but the way I understand it the MAC is only used by the local router and LAN at the physical transport level and when a packet crosses a router there is no trace left of MAC. Once a packet crosses my router out to the Internet there is no trace of MAC left. Right?

If you are connected with your smartphone directly with 4G to your provider's network they have your MAC but it makes no difference because they know who you are anyway. Once your packets leave their network for the wider Internet no trace of MAC is left. It is all TCP/IP. Right?

MAC addresses are used at the physical level transport and TCP/IP is a different logical level altogether.
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pepperminty
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Re: For privacy, how can I randomize my MAC address before connecting to wifi?

Post by pepperminty »

An ISP I connect to has wifi hotspots scattered throughout the city, and even wider than that. I want to keep my internet activity private from the ISP. Yes, they'll know my activity during Session X, but if I randomize my MAC address, they won't know that Session Y and Session Z are also me.
Last edited by pepperminty on Mon Jun 08, 2020 5:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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GS3
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Re: For privacy, how can I randomize my MAC address before connecting to wifi?

Post by GS3 »

I suppose changing MAC would work in that case assuming they do not ask any other log-in or ID. On the other hand, be aware that there are many other ways of identifying a unique computer. If they are just trying to enforce some time limits and they have not put too much effort then maybe you can get around it. But if they are like Google and are intent on knowing who you are then they will know.

At any rate, it seems to me the answer to your question is to have a script that would shut down the WIFI client, randomize the MAC and then restart the device. I am not script savvy but someone who knows should be able to do it easily.
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Re: For privacy, how can I randomize my MAC address before connecting to wifi?

Post by pepperminty »

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