If somebody knows your MAC address, can he hack into your tablet or WI-FI network?

belboy asked 1 year ago

I bought a new tablet and my sneaky neighbour had turned the unsecured wireless network just when I was connecting my tablet to the internet.

Unfortunately, my tablet connected to my neighbours unsecured WI-FI. It stayed like this for an hour, because I was watching my favourite TV series, so I let it alone for a while. When I returned I realised that my tablet is connected to the wrong – neighbour’s unsecured WI-FI.

When I saw that, I immediately turned off the WI-FI and put it on my own WI-FI network.

Apparently the tablet was configured to automatically connect to the first most available WI-FI and it has chosen my neighbour’s WI-FI network, because I didn't set up the password for my WPA 2 protected WI-FI yet and my neighbour’s network was unsecured, so it was most reachable.

I am wondering. As I know, when my tablet connected to my neighbour’s WI-FI, this has provided my neighbour with MAC address of my tablet.

Now, I am wondering. Is it possible, that my neighbour could exploit this to attack my tablet or even my WI-FI network?

Can he get into my tablet somehow, knowing the MAC address of my tablet?

And further more.

Can he break into my WI-FI Network by spoofing my MAC address, so the MAC filter in my router would let him through, because my neighbour would use spoofed MAC address of my tablet.

How to avoid being hacked and how can I figure out that somebody hacked into my tablet or into my network.

Maybe I sound a little bit paranoid, but I know that wireless networks have many security flaws and I have a really sneaky neighbour(s).

3 Answers
wimiadmin Staff answered 1 year ago

First things first.

On the iPad, you can tell it to "Forget This Network" by choosing the little information tag on the right while it's connected. The device will not connect to that network again without your approval. I'm not sure if your tablet is the same, but I'm sure there has to be some sort of setting to change the default wifi connection.

Next, make sure your wifi is secure with a good password and that your tablet is connected to only your network when at home.

In my experience, routers only keep the MAC address of the connected devices for about 24 hours. Unless your neighbor wrote down your MAC, there's a good chance he no longer has it.

It may also be wise to either hide your SSID or change your SSID and hide it before it broadcasts. This means all of your devices will need to be reconnected to your wireless network once the SSID is changed. If your SSID does not broadcast, then your neighbor would have to manually enter it in to try and hack it. It would be unlikely that he would be able to guess the correct SSID and to my knowledge, there is no network scanning software that would be able to identify the SSID if one is not being broadcast. The broadcast settings can be changed within your router.

As far as spoofing your MAC to hack your network, my question is, how tech savvy is your neighbor?

You should also be able to monitor the connections made to your router. If you see the MAC of the tablet while the tablet is not connected, this doesn't mean the neighbor is connected, it just means your router hasn't flushed that info from it's database.

You could also limit the number of IP addresses your router has available. If you have 2 devices connected via wifi, then perhaps you only allow 2 IP address assignments in the DHCP settings. Just know that if you want to add a device later, this number will need to be increased.

Jeremy Jefferson answered 2 weeks ago

If you are using wireless on any device your MAC address is out there for anyone to find, regardless of it you are connected to someone else's network, your own, or even none at all.
When wireless is enabled (just enabled, not necessarily connected to a network) it is constantly sending out packets.  These packets have your MAC address in plain text (not encrypted) for all to see.  All someone has to do is install wireless sniffing tools to see every device's mac address within range of their wireless adapter.
In fact, you can actually track people with this method if you really wanted to.  For example, if I know the MAC address of my neighbors phone (which I could easily figure out) I could actually set up a computer that would watch for his MAC address and actually log when he leaves home (goes out of range) and when he gets home (back in range).  Because people almost always keep their phone on them I would actually know at all times if my neighbor is home.  Scary stuff.  Some stores like Walmart actually do this same thing to track when you are in the store.
As for him being able to hack your network because he knows your mac address.... not possible.  Well, as long as you are not being stupid and using MAC based security.  Some routers allow you to have no password on your Wifi and "secure" it by only allowing certain mac addresses.  MAC addresses can easily be spoofed, so this is not secure.  As long as you are using WPA2 security, you are fine.
To address the response you got from wimiadmin, the suggestion about limiting your DHCP to a certain # of addresses is useless.  Even if the router doesn't give an address via DHCP, anyone can define a static IP that they want to use.
Also, hiding your SSID is pointless as well.  Wireless sniffers can see hidden SSIDs.  If someone is smart enough to attempt to hack into your network, hiding your SSID is just going to make them laugh to themselves as they easily figure it out in 5 seconds.

wimiadmin Staff answered 1 week ago

Jeremy, you're correct in saying that someone could simply assign a static IP to their device and get on the network. But they have to see the network in order to know the IP ranges. It's pretty simple to guess most home networks use 192.168.1.x with a subnet of 255.255.255.0 and a gateway of 192.168.1.1. However, I disagree that hiding the SSID is pointless. If someone is war driving, you're right, it is useless to hide the SSID however, if belboy is only worried about his neighbors connecting to his network, then hiding the SSID might be beneficial especially since we don't know how much knowledge the neighbor has about wireless networks. And if there are other visible wifi networks in the area, the neighbor would probably attempt to connect to those first over searching for hidden networks.

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