Why You Should not Use MAC Tackle Filtering on Your Wi-Fi Router?


MAC Tackle Filtering permits you to outline a listing of units and permit solely these units in your Wi-Fi community. That is the precept anyway. In apply, this safety is troublesome to arrange and straightforward to breach.

This is likely one of the Wi-Fi router options that gives you a false sense of safety. It is sufficient to use WPA2 encryption. Some individuals desire to make use of MAC deal with filtering, however it isn’t a safety characteristic.

How MAC Tackle Filtering Works

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Every machine you personal comes with a singular Media Entry Management Tackle (MAC deal with) that identifies it on the community. Usually, a router permits any variety of units to attach – so long as it is aware of the suitable passphrase. With MAC deal with filtering a router will first examine a tool’s MAC deal with to an authorized listing of MAC addresses and solely permit the machine on a Wi-Fi community if its MAC deal with is particularly authorized.

Your router in all probability permits you to configure a listing of allowed MAC addresses in its net interface, so you may select which units can hook up with your community.

MAC deal with filtering doesn’t present any safety

Thus far, it sounds nice. However MAC addresses will be simply spoofed in lots of working programs, so any machine can faux to be a kind of allowed, distinctive MAC addresses.

MAC addresses are straightforward to get as nicely. They’re despatched over the air and to and from the machine with every packet, as MAC addresses are used to make sure that every packet reaches the proper machine.

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An attacker solely has to observe Wi-Fi visitors for a second or two, look at a packet to search out the MAC deal with of an allowed machine, convert its machine’s MAC deal with to that allowed MAC deal with. , and must be related rather than that machine. You is perhaps pondering that this may not be potential as a result of the machine is already related, however a “loss of life” or “dsock” assault that forcibly disconnects a tool from a Wi-Fi community can reroute an attacker to its location. will assist you to join.

We aren’t exaggerating right here. With a toolset like Kali Linux, an attacker can use Wireshark to snoop on a packet, run a fast command to vary its MAC deal with, use aireplay-ng to ship the disassociation packet to that shopper. , after which join as a replacement. This complete course of can simply take lower than 30 seconds. And that is simply the guide means that entails doing every step by hand – by no means thoughts automated instruments or shell scripts that may velocity it up.

WPA2 Encryption Is Sufficient

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At this level, you is perhaps pondering that MAC deal with filtering is just not foolproof, however solely supplies some further safety when encryption is used. It is type of true, however not likely.

Mainly, so long as you might have a powerful passphrase with WPA2 encryption, the encryption would be the hardest factor to crack. If an attacker can crack your WPA2 encryption, it could be trivial for them to dodge MAC deal with filtering. If an attacker can be stumped by MAC deal with filtering, they actually would not be capable to break your encryption within the first place.

Consider it like locking a bicycle on the door of a financial institution protected. Any financial institution robber who can enter via that financial institution vault door could have no downside in breaking the bike lock. You have not added any actual additional safety, however each time a financial institution worker must entry the protected, they must spend time coping with the bike lock.

it’s tedious and time consuming

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The time taken to handle it’s the primary motive why you shouldn’t fear. While you arrange MAC deal with filtering within the first place, you have to acquire the MAC deal with from every machine in your house and permit it in your router’s net interface. If in case you have a number of Wi-Fi-enabled units, it will take some time, as most individuals do.

Everytime you get a brand new machine—or a visitor arrives and wishes to make use of your Wi-Fi on their units—you may want to enter your router’s net interface and add new MAC addresses. That is on high of the same old setup course of the place you must plug a Wi-Fi passphrase into every machine.

It simply provides additional work to your life. That effort ought to repay with higher safety, however the modest-to-present improve in safety you get is not value your whereas.

It is a community administration characteristic

MAC deal with filtering, used correctly, is extra of a community administration characteristic than a safety characteristic. It won’t defend you from outsiders actively cracking your encryption and making an attempt to get into your community. Nonetheless, it would assist you to select which units are allowed on-line.

For instance, when you’ve got youngsters, you need to use MAC deal with filtering to dam their laptop computer or smartphone from accessing the Wi-Fi community if it’s worthwhile to floor them and take Web entry. Children can get round these parental controls with a number of easy instruments, however they do not know it.

So many routers additionally produce other options that rely on the MAC deal with of the machine. For instance, they could assist you to allow net filtering on particular MAC addresses. Or, you may block units with particular MAC addresses from accessing the Internet throughout college hours. These are usually not actually security measures, as they don’t seem to be designed to discourage an attacker who is aware of what they’re doing.


For those who actually need to use MAC deal with filtering to outline the listing of units and their MAC addresses and administer the listing of units allowed in your community, be happy. Some individuals actually take pleasure in one of these administration on some degree. However MAC deal with filtering does not give your Wi-Fi safety any actual increase, so that you should not really feel compelled to make use of it. Most individuals should not hassle with MAC deal with filtering, and – in the event that they do – they need to bear in mind that it is not likely a safety characteristic.

Picture credit score: Nasika on Flickr



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