Phone repeatedly being detected as an unknown device

Started by Willie

Willie

Phone repeatedly being detected as an unknown device   22 September 2020, 09:01

I have an unknown device trying to enter my network. I have blocked the MAC address in my router software, but I keep getting the message about this unknown device trying to enter my network. It looks like this device does not stay connected for a long time. I have also changed my WiFi password.

My question is: When does WiFi Guard report a new unknown connection? When it is trying to connect, or when it is connected? A confirmation on "trying to connect" will solve the concerns, but if it is the latter, then I have to make another plan to protect my system.

Also, when I look at the setting on my cell phones (Samsung Galaxy S10 and Note 10), a specific MAC address for WiFi connection is listed. The phone's WiFi MAC address listed in WiFi Guard app is totally different. However the IP address is the same. Why the different MAC address?
SoftPerfect Support forum - Ann avatar image
Ann

Re: Phone repeatedly being detected as an unknown device   22 September 2020, 11:36

If WiFi Guard has detected a device, it means the device is connected already. It looks like in your case the device randomly changes its MAC address, which is common for mobile phones. Both iOS and Android devices randomise their MAC addresses for privacy reasons. So in your Samsung Galaxy phones the MAC address is by default randomised and this address is used instead of the device MAC address.

To turn this off on your Android phone, go to its WiFi settings and tap the gear icon next to the current network. Select Advanced - Privacy and tap "Use device MAC".

On iPhone/iPad, open Settings, then WiFi, tap the information 'i' icon next to your network, and then toggle "Use Private Address" off.

This change will only affect that particular network. Your device should continue using randomised addresses in other networks.

According to iOS and Android descriptions, on iDevices the randomised MAC address changes when the user 'forgets' the network, and every 24 hours if there is no active traffic-passing session at that moment. It stays consistent per SSID (per a particular network) on Android devices until they are reset or, as some users report, until the device is restarted.


This information about private/randomized WiFi MAC addresses was provided by Apple for their iOS 14 release:
Quote

apple.com

To further protect your privacy, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Apple Watch can use a different MAC address with each Wi-Fi network.

To communicate with a WiFi network, a device must identify itself to the network using a unique network address: media access control (MAC) address. If the device always uses the same MAC address across all networks, network operators and other parties can more easily correlate that address to the device's network activity and location over time, which allows user tracking or profiling.

To reduce this privacy risk, you can use a different MAC address for each WiFi network. This unique, static MAC address is your device's private Wi-Fi address for that network only.

Using a private Wi-Fi address doesn't affect how you join or use most WiFi networks. If your WiFi router is configured to notify you whenever a new device joins the network, you will be notified when your device first joins with a private address. If a network can't use a private address to provide parental controls or identify your device as authorised to join, you can stop using a private address with that network by disabling it in the settings. Rarely, a network might allow you to join with a private address, but won't allow internet access. If that happens, you can stop using a private address with that network.

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