Wifi to the people

There’s “free” wifi in places like cafes, airports, shopping centres. However, lest you get too comfortable or you start thinking you can get things for free, this is usually limited to something stupid like fifteen minutes.

This system works based on your device’s MAC address. MAC, standing for media access control (have you ever heard of anything so in need of fucking with) is a unique identifier for your network interface that tells a network that you are an individual user. When you’ve had your time, the network kicks you off based on your MAC address, usually requiring you to pay for more time or give them your email address or other such bullshit.

If you change your MAC address and reconnect, the network thinks you’re a whole new person and will give you another lot of free time. Repeat until you’re done reading or doing whatever it is you’re doing.

If you want to see your current MAC address, open up a terminal and enter this**:

$ ifconfig en0 | grep ether

… and you’ll see some hexadecimal number printed, like d4:c2:ad:45:bb:2a. That’s your MAC address, and this is what you want to change. How, you ask? Well …

I wrote a Python script to change my device’s MAC address. Here it is.**

1. This was written for OS X running Yosemite. Yosemite uses en0, some earlier versions use en1. Google and check. This is self-help, people.
2. Depending on your version of OS X you may need to disconnect from your Airport for this script to work. Follow the instructions in the comments of the script linked above.
3. This was written in ten minutes and tested on one machine. Doesn’t work? Google it. This script contains the bones of running commands from a Python script, you should be able to fill in what works for your own setup.

Save this somewhere as a Python file, calling it something you’ll remember like mac-n-cheese.py (use whatever you want). To run it enter this on the command line (this is assuming you named it mac-n-cheese.py but use whatever you called the file, and the right path to wherever you saved it):

$ python3 path/to/location/mac-n-cheese.py

Enjoy your wifi.

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