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How to use random hardware addresses to improve Wi-Fi security?

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If you want to learn how to improve your Wi-Fi security it is possible to use random hardware addresses. Wireless networks are widely used nowadays. We have a large number of devices that we can use to connect to the network without using a cable.

Technology has been improving and today a Wi-Fi network is much faster, more stable, and also compatible with more equipment. However, there is a very important factor that is also different from the cable: security. We must take care of it at all times. In this article, we are going to talk about what are random hardware addresses.

Wi-Fi security is a fundamental factor

It is very important to keep our computers protected at all times. There are many threats on the network and they can affect us in one way or another and put our privacy and security at risk.

A Wi-Fi network can be used by a hacker to break into a home or business network. That hacker could take control of the connected equipment and exploit possible vulnerabilities. This makes it necessary to have a good security strategy and always be protected.

What are random hardware addresses?

After explaining the importance of maintaining security on Wi-Fi networks we need to talk about what random hardware addresses are and, more importantly, why they can protect our devices. It is a feature that comes integrated with Windows, the most widely used operating system on desktop computers.

Through Wi-Fi, we can send information even when we are not connected. For example, even if we are not connected to a network, our computer sends a signal (as long as we have Wi-Fi enabled) to search for networks in the area. This signal sends the unique physical hardware address, also known as MAC address.

How to use random hardware addresses to improve Wi-Fi security?
How to use random hardware addresses to improve Wi-Fi security?

Each computer has a unique MAC address. It is something that identifies the device and could help us for example to create a MAC filter on the router and have a whitelist. It is also necessary to establish a connection to any Wi-Fi network.

Now, if we send that information to a Wi-Fi network that is insecure, it could pose a problem for our privacy. For example, let’s say we are in a shopping mall where there are many wireless networks available and they are part of the same network. They could know our movements, where we are, by constantly sending the MAC address, even without actually connecting us.

So what does the Windows random hardware address function do? Basically, it generates multiple random MAC addresses. As long as the hardware of our Wi-Fi adapter allows it, we can configure this function and not send our real MAC address, but this way it will send a large number of random addresses. This will allow us to avoid being tracked.

How to use random hardware addresses in Windows?

This function is not enabled by default in Windows 10. However, you just have to follow a series of simple steps to enable it and use Wi-Fi with greater security and privacy.

The first thing we have to do is go to Start. Then we go to Settings and go to Network and Internet. There we have to click on Wi-Fi. We will see the second option that indicates Random Hardware Addresses. This is the one we are interested in.

How to use random hardware addresses to improve Wi-Fi security?
How to use random hardware addresses to improve Wi-Fi security?

As you can see, this function is not enabled by default. However, we only have to activate it and that’s it. From that moment on, we will send random MAC addresses to nearby Wi-Fi points. We will be able to prevent a possible attacker from collecting this information and turning it against us.

How to enable random hardware addresses for a specific Wi-Fi network?

We also have the option to use random hardware addresses only for a specific Wi-Fi network. This way we will continue to connect normally to all the others, but to that specific one, we will send random MAC addresses.

Once again we have to go to Start and then to Settings. There we enter Network and Internet, we give Wi-Fi and we have to click on Manage known networks. A screen will open with the wireless networks.

We have to click on a network, the one we are interested in, and click on Properties. A new screen will open up with different options, such as automatic connection, network profile, etc. What we are interested in is the Random Hardware Addresses section.

We will also find that this option is disabled. We simply have to click on the Enabled option and that’s it. From that moment on we will send random hardware addresses to that network.

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