Device Identification in the Presence of MAC Randomization

Ihab Zhaika, David Hay

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11) is the most-used protocol for wireless internet access on customer premises. The MAC address of each connected device, which used to be static, is being recently randomized (by the device's operating system) as frequently as daily to prevent tracking and fingerprinting of devices and users. While this feature might be useful in public areas, it disturbs some day-to-day functionalities, such as firewalls, parental control, and similar applications that require a static identifier per device. In this work, we present methods to ensure the functionalities of these applications, even when the MAC address is changed every time the device connects to the network. Our methods work even if the latest MAC randomization techniques are applied and provide these device identifications only to the gateway router. (Potentially malicious) devices that are connected to the same LAN, still see the randomized MAC address, and therefore, cannot identify or track the device.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publication2022 IEEE Global Communications Conference, GLOBECOM 2022 - Proceedings
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781665435406
StatePublished - 2022
Event2022 IEEE Global Communications Conference, GLOBECOM 2022 - Virtual, Online, Brazil
Duration: 4 Dec 20228 Dec 2022

Publication series

Name2022 IEEE Global Communications Conference, GLOBECOM 2022 - Proceedings


Conference2022 IEEE Global Communications Conference, GLOBECOM 2022
CityVirtual, Online

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Shaul Levi, Ray Oei, and Muhammad Ali from Gamgee B.V for the useful discussions on the problem. This research was supported in part by a research grant from Cisco Systems and by the Federmann Cyber Security Research Center in conjunction with the Israel National Cyber Directorate.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 IEEE.


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