Security of MAC-based wireless access permissions

346380 pts.
Tags:
MAC address
Mobile Computing in 2010
WEP
Wireless networking
Wireless security
A colleague and I were recently debating whether it's an OK policy to allow wireless access based on users MAC addresses. He has a small office where most people are wired, but a few are wireless and are part of that notorious gang that can't be bothered with passwords. He also said that basing authentication on MAC address gets rid of network misidentification problems on the client end. I say malarky, and whatever benefits he's seeing aren't worth the security risks if a spoofer comes in and sees what's going on. Am I just old fashioned, or is he opening up a hole the size of a barn?

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Not a good idea to do MAC only without passwords. Are you openly transmitting SSID as well? Wireless networks are prone to being cracked with all safeguards in place, so I always run with MAC only, do not broadcast SSID, WAP2 with passwords.

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  • Darkstar911
    you only have to input the wireless network key once and the machines will remember the network configuration the next time it tries to connect. How difficult can that be?
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  • Kevin Beaver
    Sounds like more of a user problem than a wireless network problem. MAC address spoofing is well-documented and relatively easy to overcome if other controls such as WPA2 are not in place.
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  • ITKE
    [...] Security of MAC-based wireless access permissions, which was asked by a reader and answered by [...]
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