Getting started with the Proxmark3

------ From a thread on another topic ------

While you’re here Iceman, where would you send a non-coding noob to learn everything they need to know to become proficient on the Proxmark. I mean right from the beginning!

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I don’t like to hijack peoples threads.

But for a non-coder…
I usually recommend start fiddling with what you have at home.
You have more rfid tags than you believe.

Also, start with the basics, ie: the Low frequency commands.
Its a rabbit hole deep enough.

Everyone wants to clone, so T5577 is a perfect starting choice for LF.
There you have enough things to learn for some months.

Read the ATMEL datasheet for T5577, start looking at data plot to look at signals
try demodulate signals, try finding the data that is encoded on tag.

@amal has done some nice guides and videos. I did make some LF videos too.

Have fun, and remember, before you run a marathon you need to learn to walk.
Looking at signals gives you an insight in inductance coupling intuitively, ASK/FSK/PSK…

Best thing with LF, not that much crypto to understand, but when you are ready there is more tags like Em4x05 and HITAG (which has crypto)

The official wiki has:

Adam Laurie has his nice articles about ASK/FSK/PSK and RFidler, which gives you the fundamentals of RFID signals.

Trust me when I say that you will fail and think it sucks and doesnt make sense and people not answering your questions. When you overcome it all and look back you will smile and understand that they were right. You will also have a profound feeling of achieving something.


Yes, my fault: I saw Proxmark royalty walk into the discussion and just blurted out my question. PM please split it off if you feel I have deviated too far off-topic.


It’s what we do here, and the only reason I split this off was, it was a great question and answer that shouldn’t get lost in the weeds.
@LabRat feel free to change the title as it is your thread now.

To add to @iceman’s comment
Obviously it would be better to have your cards and PM3 to test and get actual results like he said, but for when you are on the go and don’t have access to your proxmark, or you just have that niggling question and can’t be bothered setting up your PM3 to answer,
@Aoxhwjfoavdlhsvfpzha’s Online emulator is great for that, or learning how to navigate the menu structure and where things live.
Just poke around in it and even just that will help you immensely.

Also, there are plenty of people who come to the forum wanting help with the PM3 or cloning issues etc.
Try to help them, it will force you to learn.
Even if you are not confident, either try to find the answer but wait for somebody to confirm it.

If you dont already have a set, get yourself a test card pack, use those to practice and learn with.
They are easy to read /write and if cheaper and easier to replace if you break them


Thank you, these are both really good replies.
However, even these answers assume a level of knowledge that someone completely new to this doesn’t have. You can’t play around with cards or even explore commands without first having set up your Proxmark to work with a computer.
For my fellow noobs: To do this you have to know your way around the CLI (Command Line Interface). This is not the same as becoming a coder, or learning a programming language but rather the ability to open a window into your computer’s internal workings and having the knowledge to safely make the necessary changes to patch the two devices together.
For those of you who have never studied what goes on “under the hood”, who don’t know what the Command Prompt (Windows), Bash Shell (Linux) or Terminal (Mac) do, who have never brewed, flashed or compiled anything in your lives, the place to start is learning about the CLI.

First step: put “learn command line” into a search engine.

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Also, thanks to Aox for telling me about this text-based game, bashcrawl that teaches some basic commands.


Do you think this

is a good enough starting point?

It pretty detailled and a step by step from Whoa to go
or are you suggesting there should be a step before that?

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It’s an excellent collection of articles. A huge wall of detailed information.
But if you’re starting from nothing, by which I mean that you have only ever used computers through their GUI, it could just as well be Greek.
In most areas of day-to-day computer usage I would be considered an intermediate user. Get me on Photoshop or FilemakerPro and I would be an advanced user. I am the person family and friends call when they have a computer problem. The first computer I used ran MS-DOS.
But like most people who are not in IT I have never needed to use the CLI.

It’s as if the DT guide is written in French. It all makes perfect sense - to someone who already speaks French. When Aox helped me remotely set up my PM3 I dutifully followed instructions and the job got done but I didn’t know what I was actually doing - because it was all “in French”.

I’m sure this seems weird to most of you because you don’t realise how much further along the road you were to begin with so you’re all sitting there thinking “Bizarre! Tout est si clairement disposé. Un singe nouveau-né pourrait le comprendre!” :wink:

So PM, the quick answer to your question…

…is yes! You have to learn enough CL to be able to follow the instructions in the guides.


I do a lot of work in command line. theres a sense of accomplishment doing certain things there without a GUI. with that said i am by no means an expert and often times being on OSX packages fail becase apples gonna Apple. Things change, python version dependancies break shit. its almost always a mess.

its frustrating and a lot of it isnt the user’s fault. A lot of it comes down to bad feedback from the CL Interface. When im tracking a failed brew i just am guessing half the time trying to figure out what failed and why. Most of the time though it is python.

But even with doing a lot of commandline stuff i am still googling basic linux commands. I dont know if my memory is just shit now or what. But initially it is a steep learning curve to get into using the Proxmark. Once you understand the concepts you are good.


Do you use MacOS’s Terminal emulator or a 3rd party one like iTerm2?

Pimped out Iterm2
Screenshot 2024-03-25 at 10.25.18 PM