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Since a Google Street View car has passed by my neighborhood, it has associated my wireless router's MAC address to its geographical address. The problem is that my address can be easily obtained by third parties using XSS now.

What are the protection measures I can take to prevent Google and Third Parties from knowing my location using this method?

  1. Change my router password?
  2. Change my router MAC address?
  3. Hide my Wireless SSID?
  4. What else?
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4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Google uses both SSID and RSSID (the Wifi MAC address), so if you change any, change both. Some access point choose a random RSSID at boot time.

The real solution would be to protect your access point parameters (so that SSID and RSSID are not readable remotely). We cannot help you as we have no idea which router/access point you are using.

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I changed both MAC addresses "Wireless Interface" and "WAN Port", I changed the SSID, and it still shows my location. –  Jader Dias Oct 5 '11 at 19:10
    
@JaderDias Where does it show your location? Please describe exactly your test method. –  curiousguy Oct 6 '11 at 6:59
    
When I enter in maps.google.com and click the gray dot, it turns blue and the map shows my location. –  Jader Dias Oct 6 '11 at 17:03

Google and third parties know your location from a number of sources:

  • Based on your IP address it is possible to reliably, though not perfectly so, know where you are located (nothing to do with WiFi) as an example go here and see what country and city it thinks you're in, I bet it's right http://www.ipaddresslocation.org/
  • If you ever used google maps to get directions in your house that would be a separate data point (or cross referenced with the first).
  • If you ever found a restaurant or hardware store near you by searching
  • If you've ever clicked on an ad that is local (say a nearby store)
  • Perhaps you use facebook and it knows your address or perhaps only one or two of your friends' addresses...
  • Ever googled your name?
  • More....

Since your wireless router doesn't move (I'm assuming it's not your travel hotspot) then it will always be at your house, but that doesn't say to whom it belongs. So long as you don't use an SSID that is your social security number or name then your wifi box is not what gives away your location. The phone book OTOH may very well map your name to an address - if not the public phone book there are plenty of public records that would (own a house or condo?) or semi-public records that would (have a credit card or bank account, how about a social security number).

If you want to remain anonymous online it's virtually impossible (bad pun, sorry). Even using a decent technology like TOR won't get you as far as you might hope - you should really not use the public network from home if you don't want to be identifiable.

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1  
Okay, you're right, but you're not addressing the focus of this question, that is the location obtained through the Street View cars. –  Jader Dias Oct 5 '11 at 18:01
    
"If you ever used google maps" Do you have a Google Account? If so, you can delete the search history (of course, you would have to trust Google to really do it properly). If not, Google can only use a pseudonymous identity linked to your Internet connexion and your browser. If you have a dynamic IP and delete all your HTTP cookies (and URL history, and cache, and HTML 5 local storage, and Flash cookies), you can change this pseudonymous online identity. –  curiousguy Oct 6 '11 at 6:54
    
@Jader Dias: I think the focus of the question relates to concern regarding public publication of the individuals location - contrast this with the location of their WiFi network. Should asker clarify contrary to my assumption I'm happy to address that too. Cheers –  Ram Oct 6 '11 at 18:26
    
@Ram I hate when people disregard the question title completely. –  Jader Dias Oct 7 '11 at 14:44
    
@JaderDias I hear you - I think I answered what OP meant. I also answered what OP asked in case that's what they really meant - see the paragraph starting "Since your wireless router"... that IMO addresses the question asked - no? –  Ram Oct 7 '11 at 16:39

The most obvious answer is to change your router's MAC address. With most routers this is a matter of literally one minute changing something in a configuration screen.

My personal reaction is not caring if people know where I live, but I'm weird.

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The way to counter the attack depicted in the video is to change your home network's IP range so the "router detection" fails.

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The router detection can be improved to check for other IP ranges. –  Jader Dias Oct 6 '11 at 17:05
    
Sure, but they not only need to guess the IP range, but also the router's IP. –  Simon Richter Oct 7 '11 at 7:33

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