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MAC addresses on virtual installations such as VirtualBox are not connected to hardware.

Do they have any absolute meaning, and are they registered somewhere, the way hardware MAC addresses are supposed to be? Or are they essentially spoofed?

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Considering I've seen/used [Intel] hardware with randomized MAC addresses (manufacture section constant), I'm not sure I would say they "have any less meaning" ... anyway :) As long as the MAC is "constant" for the duration it needs to be (sometimes a MAC will be used for an UUID ... ICK!), and doesn't cause collisions on the segment, then I'd argue it does its job as much as any. –  pst Jun 2 '11 at 1:17
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migrated from stackoverflow.com Jun 3 '11 at 4:38

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Essentially they are spoofed.

They can indicate that the unit is a VM but they don't have to. They are generating a MAC address for a virtual adapter so they don't have the opportunity to be "real". How they are generated all depends on the Virtual Machine manufacturer. Here are a few links to how different vendors implement MAC addresses:

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