Does using a VPN change your Mac address?

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Matthew Wilhelm Kapell
@matthewwilhelmkapell
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Cybercrime can still be a problem, as the sophisticated techniques of criminals are continually evolving. If a cybercriminal wants to cause trouble, he can find your location on the Internet (IP address). Once this is done, it is possible to find the identifier of the device with which you are connecting (MAC address).

Luckily, VPN services offer a way to hide your internet location. But can they do the same for your MAC address? Read on to find out if they can and how to find IP and MAC addresses on various devices.



What is a VPN?

A VPN service provider disguises your online identity so that 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 like you're browsing from somewhere else. Not only does this protect your data, but it can also unlock geo-restricted streaming content in another country. You will have the option to select which server you want to appear to be browsing using the VPN Providers app.

What is an IP address?

An Internet Protocol (IP) address is a proprietary string of numbers representing a device on the Internet or local network. “Internet protocols” are the rules governing the format of data sent over these networks.

IP addresses are 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. IP and MAC addresses help identify unique devices and networks and are essential to the functioning of the Internet.



What is a MAC address?

A Media Access Control (MAC) address is a unique string of numbers and letters that is also used to identify your device on the Internet. All connected devices have a network interface card (NIC) to allow connection to a network. The network card manufacturer provides each card with a unique MAC address. These addresses are sometimes called hardware addresses.

Like IP addresses, the MAC address is necessary for the interaction between local and network devices.

What is the difference between an IP and MAC address?

IP and MAC addresses are used to identify a device on the Internet. The Internet Service Provider (ISP) assigns the IP address, while the network card manufacturer provides the MAC address.

The main difference is that the IP address identifies the connection of the device to the network. It is the logical address of the computer and can be found by a third party.

On the other hand, the MAC address identifies the physical address of the computer on the network; it defines which device is used. MAC addresses cannot be easily 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 is an asset identifier and is not modified by the VPN.

A VPN provider hides your location details. Your MAC address must be visible to allow your connection to the Internet. However, if you want to hide/change your MAC address before logging in, there are MAC address change tools available. An example is the Technitium MAC Address Changer.


Additional FAQs

Where can I find my MAC address?

Here's how to find the MAC address of various devices.



Windows 10 :

1. Press the Windows key, then type “cmd” and press Enter.

2. In the Command Prompt window, type “ipconfig /all” and press Enter.

You will be presented with a list of your adapters, each with a "physical" address. The series of numbers and letters next to the adapter correspond to the MAC address.

macOS:

1. In the upper left corner, click the Wi-Fi icon.

2. From the drop-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.

Android:

1. Go to "Settings", then "Network & Internet".

2. Select "Wi-Fi", then choose the network you are connected to.

3. Tap 'Advanced', then under 'Network' details you will see your MAC address.

iOS:

1. Go to "Settings", then "General".

2. Choose "About" and scroll down. The Wi-Fi address displayed is your MAC address.


Internet identifiers

In order to manage and track the countless number of devices connecting to the internet, each device has a unique ID. The MAC address is assigned to each device by its manufacturer. Your IP address identifies the connection you make to the Internet.

VPNs hide your real IP address, so your whereabouts on the Internet remain secret. However, it does not hide your MAC address. Luckily, there are MAC address changer tools available to conceal your device's identity from potential malicious users.

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