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More details on how iOS 8’s MAC address randomization feature works (and when it doesn’t)

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More details on how iOS 8’s MAC address randomization feature works (and when it doesn’t)

Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 5.57.54 PM

A few days in the past Apple published a new privacy page on its website that detailed the varied measures it has put in place to guard Mac and iOS customers’ private knowledge. One of these options, which is new in iOS 8, is the automated randomization of MAC addresses when the gadget is looking for a Wi-Fi community. This makes it rather more troublesome to trace a tool by seeing which Wi-Fi networks have noticed its distinctive identifier.

A new two-half research by AirTight Networks into how properly this safety feature works has turned up some fascinating outcomes, together with a number of circumstances that may cease the telephone from randomizing a MAC address. Part one of the study breaks down what precisely must occur as a way to begin this perform…

First, one of many extra necessary factors within the research signifies that the iPhone 5 and older fashions don’t appear to benefit from MAC address randomization, although the security notes for iOS 8 say that the feature works on all units. According to the AirTight analysis, solely the iPhone 5s might be noticed utilizing this feature.

Apple’s web site (seen above) states that to set off this perform, the consumer ought to be “out operating errands together with your telephone in your pocket.” As implied by that sentence, the gadget must be locked to start out randomzing its MAC address. This was confirmed by the AirTight research, which discovered that about two minutes after the gadget’s display was locked, it would begin looking for a well-known Wi-Fi community utilizing a random address. Every time the gadget wakes up and goes again to sleep, a brand new MAC address is generated.

There is one other stipulation that have to be met earlier than this feature will kick in, nevertheless, and it’s one that the majority customers aren’t going to satisfy. In order to start out utilizing randomized MAC addresses, location providers have to be disabled.

If that requirement hasn’t dominated out each iPhone consumer from profiting from this feature, a discovery within the second part of the study virtually definitely will. During the primary spherical of testing, the researchers on the AirTight weblog had not used SIM playing cards in any of the telephones being analyzed. When they put SIM playing cards into these models and activated a mobile knowledge connection, they discovered that MAC address randomization was utterly disabled it doesn't matter what different critera have been met.

You learn that appropriately: activating mobile knowledge (3G/4G/LTE) on your iPhone (which you might want to get iMessages, push notifications, emails, and extra when not on Wi-Fi) appears to be deactivating one of many key options touted on Apple’s personal privateness web page. Apparently Apple belives that you need to disable your mobile knowledge connection when “out operating errands together with your telephone in your pocket.”


Filed underneath: iOS Tagged: iOS 8, iPad, iPhone, IPod Touch, mac address randomization, privacy, Security

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