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I connected to Wifi (using a HTC Desire using Android 2.3) and a friend used an app (I think it was on an iPhone) to display information about devices connected to the Wifi hotspot. I can accept the MAC address being available but isn't having your IMEI number publicly available make it easy for people to do negative stuff like clone it, then fake a phone on the same network with the same MAC address etc? Or just report the phone stolen by phoning a network and giving the IMEI number? Why is it visible anyway? Can I change that field for the purposes of Wifi connectivity?

Note: I am in no way asking here for information on how to change the IMEI number of my phone - I know it's illegal in many places, and I agree with the law. I just don't see why the IMEI number is relevant in this situation.

Update - to answer your questions/comments:

The Apple app is called Fing.

I saw the app running; my friend is not teasing/lying.

I'm 99% sure I was running the latest version of stock Android on the Desire, and not Cyanogenmod (which I later switched to).

I can't see that it's possible to turn a MAC address into an IMEI address.

The network uses WPA2. He wouldn't have had time to crack it. I'm not aware Fing has a live, free, online WPA2 cracking capability.

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We can't tell you why the IMEI number is "relevant", since this is a site for end-users rather than manufacturers/Google developers. That said, you need to be more specific for us to help you prevent your IMEI from being shown. What app did your friend use, and how did it see the IMEI? (I.e., is it in the name of your device, or does the app ping devices and see if they respond with information, etc.) –  Matthew Read May 14 '12 at 17:12
    
Is it possible that MAC and IMEI are related and the app infered the IMEI from the MAC address? Manufactures could employ a scheme allowing to effectively guess the IMEI address from publicly availabe data. –  Jan May 16 '12 at 11:59
    
I would be very concerned that your IMEI is being displayed whenever on Wifi - it does resemble or sound like the Wifi code within your ROM is broken and for some obscure reason picking up the IMEI perhaps due to failure in detecting the MAC's address within your wifi chipset? (BTW what ROM are you using, can be found within Settings > About Phone > Android Version and Build Version) –  t0mm13b Jul 15 '12 at 1:40
    
Maybe you both were logged in to an unsecured Wifi network, and your friend was running some exploit? Your details concerning this are quite unspecific, so I'm not willing to panic :-^ –  Izzy Aug 8 '12 at 13:59
    
Did you confirm that it was actually your IMEI number or not just something which locked liked your IMEI? –  Flow Aug 16 '12 at 12:15

3 Answers 3

Your friend is teasing you. My guess: He has got IMEI from your device and said that he has got that from Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi adapters don't broadcast IMEI number.

If he is still saying it confidently, just ask him the app name and tell me. I'll investigate.

Update:
I was expecting app name here in comment of the answer. You've put that in question which didn't ping me. Anyway, now I'd ask you to show screenshot. Fing doesn't show IMEI no. (even if Wi-Fi adapter is broadcasting it). Its available for Android too. You can try.

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Your friend was pulling your leg. Fing on iDevices is for network analysis. You cannot get an IMEI number via Wifi. He was more than likely showing you your MAC address of the wifi adapter built into the phone.

An IMEI is located under the battery on your phone and is usually a 15 digit number. Its used to authenticate the phone with your cell phone provider. Its not an easy task to clone it, if possible at all. A MAC address is a hardware address for network adapters, its 12 digits in HEX, and usually separated with a colon ever 2 digits (eg. 00:01:4F:6D:E9:A1)

A full description of Fing is available here: http://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/fing-network-scanner/id430921107?mt=8

It states nothing about IMEI, only MAC.

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I don't know how one would garnish the IMEI information over WiFi but what I would suggest is ask your friend what application they were using and then try to find an Android version of it. The developer that makes the iOS application might make an Android one, too.

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