Interesting WIFI MAC address problem?

I am running NetStumber to see what I can pick up locally. It picks up WIFI enabled mobile phones and other like equipment as they pass my machine as well as displaying fixed Peer and AP's.

Interestingly I noticed lots of Peer devices with the same name (no longer within range) with different MAC addresses. After some investigation I found that these Peer devices (what ever they were) seem to be the same device each time they come into range of NetStumbler and yet report a different MAC address each time.

I thought you required a fixed MAC address for WIFI? This helps security by MAC filtering. Why are these devices changing MAC address each time I see them? How are they doing it and why? Anyone ever seen this before or know why?

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How did you determine they were the same device. As for the different Mac Addresses, changing the Mac is not a big deal.

While MAC filtering is nice and easy, and would lead one to believe it is a good solution, because of the fact that MAC addresses can be changed, and that MAC addresses are sent in the clear, it is not a very good security tool. For a home network just allowing your own Mac addresses is a good start, in any kind of public network, mac filtering is easily subverted.

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Bash hath wroth:

Are you sure you're running Netstumbler 0.4? It does not pickup client radios, such as Wi-Fi enabled cell phones (like my XV6700), and wireless clients such as notebooks. What are you really doing?

Oh that bug. See:

It was fixed about a year ago with an MS update, but many users don't seem to believe in updates.

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