Does Using a VPN Change Your Mac Address?
Cybercrime may always be a problem, as criminals’ sophisticated techniques continuously evolve. If a cybercriminal wants to cause trouble, they can find your location on the internet (IP address). Once they’ve done this, it’s possible to find the identifier of the device you’re connecting with (MAC address).
Luckily, VPN services provide a way of hiding your internet location. But can they do the same for your MAC address? Read on to determine whether they can, plus how to find the IP and MAC addresses on various devices.
What Is a VPN?
A VPN service provider disguises your online identity so you can browse the internet securely and anonymously. It encrypts your data and hides your IP address by sending your internet activity securely to a remote server.
VPNs bluff your IP address to make it look as though you’re browsing from another place. Not only does this protect your data, but it can also unlock geo-restricted streaming content in another country. You’ll have the option to select which server you want to appear to be browsing from using the VPN providers app.
What Is an IP Address?
An IP (Internet Protocol) address is an exclusive string of numbers representing a device on the internet or local network. “Internet Protocols” are the rules overseeing the format of data sent over these networks.
IP addresses are the identifiers that allow information to be sent between devices on the network. They include location details and make devices open for communication. The internet uses this method to differentiate between different routers, computers, and websites. Both IP and MAC addresses provide a way to identify unique devices and networks and are essential to the internet’s operation.
What Is a MAC Address?
A MAC (Media Access Control) address is a unique string of numbers and letters also used to identify your device on the internet. All connected devices have a network interface card (NIC) to enable connection to a network. The NIC manufacturer provides each card with a unique MAC address. These addresses are sometimes referred to as hardware addresses.
Like IP addresses, the MAC address is necessary for interaction between local and network devices.
What Is the Difference Between an IP and MAC Address?
Both IP and MAC addresses are used to identify a device on the internet. The internet service provider (ISP) assigns the IP address, whereas the NIC manufacturer provides the MAC address.
The main difference is that the IP address identifies the device’s connection to the network. It’s the logical address of the computer and can be found by a third party.
On the other hand, the MAC address identifies the computer’s physical address on the network; it defines which device is being used. MAC addresses can’t easily be found by a third party.
Does Using a VPN Change Your MAC Address?
The short answer is “no.” The MAC address is assigned by the manufacturer of your device. It’s an asset identifier and is not changed by the VPN.
A VPN provider hides your location details. Your MAC address needs to be visible to allow your connection to the internet. However, if you want to hide/change your MAC address before connecting, there are MAC address-changing tools available. The Technitium MAC Address Changer is an example of one.
Where Do I Find My MAC Address?
Here’s how to find the MAC address for various devices.
1. Hit the Windows key, then type “
cmd” and hit Enter.
2. In the command prompt window, type “
ipconfig/all” and press Enter.
You’ll be presented with a list of your adapters, each with a “Physical” address. The series of numbers and letters beside the adapter is the MAC address.
1. At the top left corner, click the Wi-Fi icon.
2. From the pull-down menu, select “Network Preferences.”
3. On the next screen, click “Advanced.“
4. At the top of the screen, select the “Hardware“ tab to see your MAC address.
1. Navigate to “Settings,“ then “Network & internet.”
2. Select “Wi-Fi,” then choose the network you’re connected to.
3. Tap “Advanced,” then beneath “Network” details, you will see your MAC address.
1. Navigate to “Settings,” then “General.”
2. Choose “About” and scroll down. The Wi-Fi address shown is your MAC address.
In order to manage and keep track of the uncountable number of devices connecting to the internet, each device has a unique identifier. The MAC address is assigned to every device by its manufacturer. Your IP address identifies the connection you make to the internet.
VPNs hide your actual IP address, so your whereabouts on the internet remain secret. However, it does not hide your MAC address. Luckily, there are MAC address-changing tools available to conceal your device’s identity from would-be malicious users.