On occasion I change my MAC address from time to time at a public Wifi service. However lately something has changed. The captive portal (Wifi) remembers me even if I change my MAC address on my Macintosh. How is that possible? Is it leaving a cookie on my computer somehow? If so, how to remove it?

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    Its probably next to impossible to answer this technical question without any details. In theory they could use cookies (or similar techniques), but its impossible to tell. Try a different browser and/or the private mode of yours. Also make sure your MAC is really changed (e.g. use packet sniffing software). – Karol Babioch Jan 31 '17 at 23:24
  • I only have one computer (Macbook Pro running the latest OS/X Sierra) so I can't sniff what's in the air. The Wifi portal is Starbucks coffee house. – Muxe Jan 31 '17 at 23:45
  • Have you tried launching your browser in whatever its name for Private/Incognito mode is? Or even using a different profile than your standard one? – iwaseatenbyagrue Mar 3 '17 at 13:42
  • Every 'anon/4chan/foo' is using macchangers, Starbucks has probably found a more reliable method for tracking customers. – user400344 Apr 2 '17 at 8:47

It may use your WebGL ID (which never changes, unless you reinstall MacOS), or some other variable. Try disabling images, javascript (noscript, scriptsafe). Have a look at https://amiunique.org/faq . Disable flash and java as well via an appropriate add-on.

The obvious answer is that it's using a cookie, but I assume you've cleared those. Try clearing them pre-connect, and see what cookies are added post-login.

You will learn nothing useful (for solving your problem) by running tcpdump or wireshark. If you run it anyway, do a capture of 2-3 login sequences, and build filters later. I don't use wireshark, so can't help with those, but a tcpdump pcap filter may look like this (for capturing a HTTP captive portal session): sudo tcpdump -ni en1 -s 4096 host and port 80, where en1 is your wireless interface and is the IP of the captive portal.

  • Or employ a supercookie. – mootmoot May 2 '17 at 13:47

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