I am no tech-head - I know what I know reasonably well because I use it all the time, but anything outside my immediate range of computer behaviors is pretty much terra incognita.
But I am gradually adding to my knowledge - this post on a crackdown on file sharers at Penn State led to an offhand comment from a tech friend along the lines of "well, there are now 220 students who will learn how to change their MAC addresses."
So I asked our omniscient site administrator Phillip Winn, what is this thing called "MAC"?
His all-seeing but scrupulous reply:
- MAC = Media Access Control. It's a lower-level address than an IP address, and it's on your network card. For example, a valid IP address might be: 220.127.116.11. The same network card that responds to that address has a lower-level address, too, which would be something like 00:d0:09:51:b0:90.
You can start up a command prompt and type the following to find out what yours is: ipconfig /all
Then just look at the "Physical Address" line to determine your MAC address.
I can't think of what use you might have for software to change it. That's *generally* only useful to hackers.
And people who don't want to be nuked for file sharing, I would imagine.
The SMAC software that allows you to change your MAC address on the Windows 2000 and XP systems also lists these reasons why one might want to do such a thing:
- Test Security Vulnerability on MAC Address based Authentication and Authorization Systems
Build "TRUE" Stand-by (offline) systems with the EXACT same CompterName, IP, and MAC ADDRESSES as the Primary Systems. If Stand-by systems should be put online, NO arp table refresh is necessary, which eliminates extra downtime.
Build High-Availability solutions