Cloning MAC Address to Change IP Appears to Not Work

tdth asked 2 years ago

Hello. Some time ago I read Schnerdly's post here about how one can change their IP by cloning/spoofing the router's MAC address. My ISP is Comcast, for the record.

I followed the instructions and they worked. However, I moved recently, retaining the same ISP, and was thus leased a different modem-router of the same hardware as before. Here is the nature of my network connection: the combination modem-router from Comcast is operating in solely modem-mode, same as the last arrangement, and I'm using a router I bought myself, also the same as before.

What's different about it now: the new combination modem-router, although of the same model as the previous one, has a 'firm update' sticker on the top. This makes me think that the modem-router was refurbished and in the process was given a firmware update, and this sticker was used as an organizational tool to remind workers to update its firmware, or to label it as its firmware having been updated already. In either case, its firmware may be more recent than the previous modem-router and it may be refurbished.

The problem: cloning my router's MAC address no longer changes my IP.

It's as simple as that, but perplexing giving how little has changed. I've tried various timings and variations to Schnerdly's instructions - unplugging only the modem, unplugging both modem and router, unplugging either and both and re-plugging them after varying pauses. Nothing seems to work. I have no possible explanation. Is it possible that I was given a static IP?

Something to note: when viewing my 'network map' in Windows' Network and Internet panel, mousing over the router always reveals its IP address to be a MAC address that seems to come from nothing in my possession - neither the router's actual MAC address from its sticker matches it, nor the modem-router's. I have no clue why this is the case. Looking at the router's control panel right now, it is set to spoof a different MAC address from the one which this network map says it possesses. Disabling MAC spoofing entirely, and leaving the router to submit its actual, unspoofed MAC address has the same result.

Thanks for the help, if anyone could offer some.

2 Answers
Shnerdly Staff answered 2 years ago

Thanks for your question tdth.

I will first point out that it is my opinion that changing your IP Address does NOT improve you personal security. Websites you visit almost never attempt to hack into visitors networks and if they do, it's at the time you visit them through some type of malware on their site, not through a direct attack some time later. The ways your network are attacked are through bot computers that look for vulnerabilities constantly. They do this by systematically scanning IP's and trying various methods of getting in. The instant you change your IP, a new series of attacks will begin. If you have a router that shows the traffic it rejects you would be able to see it. Routers that have that are Linux based PC's running software like Untangle or IPCop.

If you want to hide your location from some websites you visit, I would suggest the TOR browser. It's a Firefox browser that has proxies that allow you to pick your location to a degree and change it as often as you like. Because it's a proxy, it will slow your speed on the Internet.

I suspect the problem is that you are using a Modem/Router combo unit. I never use these type of units for security reasons so I don't have anything I can check my opinion against but I think it may be that the Modem/Router combo unit sees it's two components as separate on the inside. To use a separate Router, you had to put the combo unit Router in bridge mode but the Modem is probably still seeing the MAC of the internal Router because it is technically still the first device connected to the Modem.

I would suggest looking inside the combo unit to see if MAC cloning is available in it. If not, the only other suggestion would be to purchase your own Cable Modem and get a Modem only unit.

I currently manage Cable Internet connections at four locations and I use the Motorola SB61xx Modems. They are the current DOCSIS 3.0 Modems and are compatible with the Comcast network.

tdth answered 2 years ago

Come to think of it, the modem-router does have a 'battery' indicator, although when unplugged all of the lights do extinguish completely.

I'll inspect the modem-router thoroughly for a battery when I'm back at my home. Thanks for the advice.

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