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Hack that GUID

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11 Mar 2017CPOL2 min read 30.9K   4   3
How to hack GUIDs

Can you hack GUIDs? Let's give it a go:

Give me as much information as you can about the following GUID:


How about this one?


What I am interested in is the explanation of what you can extract and why; but if you extract some values, that is even better. :)

Please post your answers as comments. I will post the answer in a few days and until then the comments will be kept private.


As Tony and Hadi correctly answered, the first GUID above is a version 1 GUID which has a timestamp and the MAC address of the machine that created it while the latter is version 4 which is randomly generated; so not much can be extracted from it.

Long Answer

From Wikipedia article, "the original (version 1) generation scheme for UUIDs was to concatenate the UUID version with the MAC address of the computer that is generating the UUID, and with the number of 100-nanosecondintervals since the adoption of the Gregorian calendar in the West. This scheme has been criticized in that it is not sufficiently "opaque"; it reveals both the identity of the computer that generated the UUID and the time at which it did so."

And to understand the significance of the issue in V1 algorithm". This privacy hole was used when locating the creator of the Melissa virus.". To address these issues, version 4 was created which is randomly generated: "Version 4 UUIDs use a scheme relying only on random numbers. This algorithm sets the version number as well as two reserved bits. All other bits are set using a random or pseudorandom data source. Version 4 UUIDs have the form xxxxxxxx-xxxx-4xxx-yxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx where x is any hexadecimal digit and y is one of 8, 9, A, or B. E.g., f47ac10b-58cc-4372-a567-0e02b2c3d479."

As mentioned above, you can differentiate GUID versions using the first letter of the third group of letters. As you can see in my example, the former GUID is V1 (e56d9850-e9a7-11e0-9572-0800200c9a66) and the latter is V4 (acfb0e5e-4869-405a-a36e-852a1688bce7).

Microsoft started using version 4 from Windows 2000: "The upper four bits of the timestamp section contain the GUID's version that specifies the content of each section. Before Windows 2000, the CoCreateGuid function generated version 1 GUIDs. With Windows 2000, Microsoft switched to version 4 GUIDs, since embedding the MAC address was viewed as a security risk. The PocketGuid class also generates version 4 GUIDs.". Also, it is worth mentioning that .NET and SQL Server use underlying OS algorithm to generate GUIDs and as such, you are guaranteed to get GUID V4.

Hope this helps!

This article was originally posted at


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

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Chief Technology Officer Genie solutions
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Comments and Discussions

QuestionInteresting, but... Pin
dandy7211-Apr-17 11:06
dandy7211-Apr-17 11:06 
AnswerRe: Interesting, but... Pin
Redgum30-Mar-18 10:09
professionalRedgum30-Mar-18 10:09 
Yes, there are several applications that use UUID encoded timestamps, but unless you're working in the field of industrial electronics or the now newly coined, 'IoT' then you normally would not care nor notice what a GUID looks like.

One area where you will find UUID's used is in the cellular phone industry, specifically in the M2M arena. Time and MAC encoded UUID's are a nice and convenient vehicle to transport and collect timestamped event information from multiple thousands of sources.


The madman is not the man who has lost his reason; the madman is the man who has lost everything except his reason.

--G.K. Chesterton

QuestionWow Pin
Berat Bilgin5-Dec-11 22:31
Berat Bilgin5-Dec-11 22:31 

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