October 22, 2020

Second Life


MAC Address for Dummies

This article is meant to be a give more insight in what a MAC Address is and what it means on different Operating Systems, because a MAC Address is not always a MAC Address.

But what exactly is the MAC Address?
A MAC Address is a “unique” identifier assigned to a Network Interface. But in reality a MAC Address is far from unique. The first 6 of 12 hex characters are registered with the IEEE Registration Authority and can be used to identify MAC vendors

[To see links please register here]

but it’s not hard to imagine that this quickly limits the amount of MAC address any organisation can create, even if they use unregistered MAC addresses, so in the real world there exist many duplicate MAC addresses.

What is my MAC address in Windows?
Since Windows 7, Microsoft introduced MAC Address spoofing as a security feature for WiFi users. Which has made it difficult for Linden Lab to identify users.
Since most SecondLife users use WiFi to connect to the internet, Linden Lab has chosen to use your BIOS serial number instead of your MAC address as identifier.

Open cmd and type:

wmic bios get serialnumber

What is my MAC Address on Linux?
On linux SecondLife viewers use the actual MAC address even though most linux distributions come with a built-in Mac Address Spoofer.
The following command will show the MAC addresses of your computer. Your computer can have more than one network interface, for example, network cable and wifi.

ip addr sh | grep link/

What is my MAC address in macOS?
On macOS the viewers use the actual MAC address, but also have the ability to spoof the MAC address, here is the command to see the MAC addresses.


When is my MAC address transmitted?
The MAC Address is send as a md5 hash upon login and every 300 seconds (5 min) via viewerstats in plain-text.

What other identifiers are send to SL via viewerstats?
OS, CPU, RAM and several GPU specs. What does SL do with this information?
We assume it’s data collection for technical support, but if that’s the case why is there no option to opt out?
Like any other legitimate software.


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