I believe my Windows 10 computer does not allow me to change my wi-fi MAC address (unless I were to write my own firmware for the wi-fi adapter, but this would take lots of reverse- engineering on my part and is not practical), which seems to be the standard now. I understand that the government and router-manufacturers might prefer this address to be locked, but is there any law pushing this preference to the adapter-manufacturers? Is Microsoft requesting it to reduce hacking?

I think most advanced computer users would prefer to be able to change their MAC address, so it seems current adapters are not matching the demand.


Microsoft is doing this to reduce hacking and MAC conflicts on public wireless networks. Let's say you go to a coffee shop and connect to their wireless network. If you have the right tools you can scan the network and find out every devices MAC address currently connected to the endpoint. If you want you can take one of the MAC addresses and switch it with yours. To do any real damage you would need to get into the router and update its ARP (Address Resolution Protocol) table. Although this would require a pretty sophisticated attacker, Microsoft does not want to take the risk. Hope this helps!

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  • So, Microsoft basically refuses to give a good bulk discount on Windows OS to a computer manufacturer unless they have a locked MAC. This sounds reasonable, within a long checklist that Microsoft requires. I wonder if this checklist is publicly available somewhere or just used in private negotiations. I also wonder if privacy concerns will cause Microsoft to drop this requirement in the future. – bobuhito Sep 15 '17 at 17:38
  • Yeah that makes sense. I am not sure if the list would be publicly available or not. Maybe a quick Google search would answer that question. I would not be surprised if that information is kept secret though. – Luke Brady Sep 15 '17 at 17:42
  • None of this makes any sense. Windows 10 provides a "randomize your MAC address mode" for use with supported chipsets at those same public APs so the owner can't profile your behavior over time. If anything, they're encouraging you not to use a consistent MAC on public networks. – Ivan Sep 15 '17 at 21:32
  • can you provide a source to these allegations? – dandavis Sep 16 '17 at 20:28

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