How to spoof a MAC address (and why)

MAC spoofing is one of those odd tricks: it’s not very useful most of the time (and it can be extremely awkward in a well-managed environment) but sometimes it’s the only technique that will solve the problem.

And the problems it solves are varied: from building absolutely identical standby kit for high-availability situations, through testing MACbased security on Wi-Fi, to migrating software that uses MAC addresses as part of its security and licence checking onto a replacement machine. But think carefully if you see a more pervasive need at a client: wholesale MAC changing is invariably a poor solution as it means manual management of a address database – remember managing IP addresses by hand and the problems that caused?

But when you do need to change MAC addresses, a tool such as SMAC (, free – $99.99) is invaluable. The free version enables you to set, change and delete the MAC address of a network card – the paid-for versions have additional features such as validating the manufacturer associated with a MAC address, randomly choosing a MAC address, and producing reports of the various NICs in a computer.

It couldn’t be simpler to use. Select the NIC for which you want to change the MAC address, type in a MAC address (or press the Random button) and press the button to restart the adaptor. It’s a simple tool that only does one job, but does it very well indeed.

Changing a network card’s MAC address using SMAC.



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