Per-network MAC deal with randomization added as an experimental characteristic


The ‘MAC Tackle’ is a singular identifier current on most units related to the community. Because the deal with is assigned through the creation course of, and infrequently can’t be modified, it’s generally used as a method of monitoring folks connecting to completely different networks. To fight this, many working methods (iOS 8+, Home windows 10, and so forth.) give randomly generated MAC addresses to the community.

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Android added MAC deal with randomization again in Android 5.0 Lollipop, however not solely is that this characteristic disabled on most units, it has a number of main flaws. A analysis research from final yr reported that it was nonetheless potential to disclose the precise MAC deal with considerably simply, even when Wi-Fi is disabled solely (due to network-based location settings).

The characteristic could be enabled from the developer choices of Android P.

Android P improves this performance by producing a unique MAC deal with for every Wi-Fi community you hook up with. That method, you’ll be able to nonetheless be recognized on the community (thus not breaking something), however nonetheless not be tracked between completely different folks. It is unclear presently whether or not Android P addresses all the safety points that earlier implementations had, however Google remains to be calling it an experimental characteristic.


UPDATED: 03/10/2018 at 8:42am PST

Google has clarified to us that the older implementation solely makes random ‘probe’ requests to a community (so established connections nonetheless reveal the true MAC), whereas Android P makes use of random addresses for actual connections.

Supply: Android Builders Weblog

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