DeepMac Goals

DeepMac has one primary goal, to provide as much intelligence about MAC addresses as possible. While IEEE provides a simple directory of OUI (aka MAC prefix), we want more. Here I’ll outline the milestones for this goal, with the realization that it is unlikely that all OUI assignments will reach the level of detail desired.

Creation Dates

I’ve verified with IEEE officials that the assignment date for each OUI is on record. However, that information is not freely available. IEEE officials did inform me that an individual organization may submit a request to find the creation date for a particular OUI assigned to them. Oh, and why do we want creation dates? It can be a very rough indication of the age of a device. For example, a CISCO device with a MAC prefix assigned in the 1990’s is more than likely an elderly model.

Device Classification

The real meat of the DeepMac project is to try and classify as many OUI’s as possible by the device the MACs are assigned to. For a very large number of MAC prefixes, these will be network interface cards, but in the past 10 years we’ve seen an explosion of embedded networking in consumer electronics, vehicles, and industrial devices. Device classification will be the most research-intensive aspect of the project, requiring a lot of searching, requests for assistance, and verification via input from device owners.

Vendor Participation

It is not likely that DeepMac will succeed in its goals without participation from major vendors such as Cisco, IBM, Apple, and Nokia.  Significant blocks of the OUI space are assigned to a relatively small number of companies, and breaking those blocks down for device classification will require “insider” knowledge about how the OUI space was parceled out by the vendor. I intend to reach-out to the security community at large, but also to folks within these large stakeholders.

Project Simplification

Most importantly, the DeepMac project can’t succeed if it is not kept simple. There needs to be relatively little effort in order to contribute information. The OUI blocks need to be consolidated for research purposes, so the largest blocks owned by a single company can be focused on. Tools for automatically converting and extracting data related to OUI and MAC prefixes should be developed. And finally, the end-result of all this research and data compilation needs to be a simple, clean data file that can easily be parsed or re-compiled for use by various tools.


So here’s the pitch: I need help! What I’m currently looking for is participation, in the form of people with first-hand knowledge about a particular MAC prefix or company with OUI assignments. I’m also looking for contributions of device classifications. The Cisco OUI space is going to be a big priority, both due to size and the utility of the additional intelligence. So if you work for a major company that owns OUI space, please drop me a line! General suggestions and comments are also welcome, of course.


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