After promising myself I’d wait until Friday to purchase my chip, I got too excited and ordered myself a NExT implant. Now I am looking at cloner options and have seen discussions about the increased risk when it comes to using a cloner (most people are talking about the Proxmark3 Easy) without an antenna and bricking a chip. My question is, why would an antenna make a difference in the chances of bricking? And would a cheaper cloner option in general increase that risk as well?
My $20 cloner got the job done for my LF side of the NExT just fine, and I use my phone for the HF side without any issues.
However, it seems the big concerns with the LF side are that
If you move pretty much at all, you could get a dirty write and run into a LOT of issues.
Some blue cloners seem to stick on a password on the first write, at which point you HAVE to have a Proxmark to remove the password and write to it again (unsure if that’s the case with my write, I only need the one ID for now, and will deal with that beast when I need to)
From reading posts of the people who write to their LF side regularly or do more with it than use it for a work badge (as I do,for now) the Proxmark is Fantastic.
It has an obscene amount of control over your implant (LF and HF sides, you just need both antennas) and I haven’t seen a thread yet where someone bricked a chip beyond repair. I think there was one factory defect case or something, but Amal replaced it immediately, as everything you buy has lifetime support.
Someone much more experienced with the nuances of the Proxmark and potential downfalls of not using one should be along shortly, but hopefully that’s enough to get you started.
Part of the ‘write’ is the data, the other part is the instructions for how to talk with readers. If you get a bad write and mess up the data its no big deal - just go again. If you mess up the instructions for how to talk to readers and writers, you now have a chip that can’t be read on your reader and you may not be able to talk to it to give new instructions. Having an antenna that couples better with your chip improves the chances of a successful write by a lot, so much lower chance of leaving your chip in a ‘bricked’ state.
There are various levels of ‘bricked’ - people describe a tag as bricked when they can’t get a read or write to work as they expect.
Because the T5577 chip that is inside an xEM and NExT can be configured in all sorts of wacky and wonderful ways, you could get lucky and quickly figure out what ‘bad data’ and settings got written, then using those settings write it back to a ‘good’ state. You might set something outlandish on the tag that you can’t figure out and need someone more experienced with a Proxmark and a really good antenna to figure it out. You might set something that makes the tag completely unusable (I’m not certain on the specifics of this, but you can end up with an unusable tag)
Basically, you’ll mostly be fine, but if you get a bad write you can brick - you can get a ‘good brick’ that is easy to fix or a ‘bad brick’ that is difficult or even impossible - only way to find out what sort you have is to start trying to fix it.
Anything you can do to improve your write performance works in your favour. Lots of people have had luck with a blue cloner, but understand there is a small risk and be careful. If any risk of a bricked tag is unacceptable, don’t do any writes at all. Everything in between is various levels of improvement and cost - choose what fits your budget and level of acceptable risk.
Thank you very much for the in-depth response. I’ll be using the LF to replace my keyfob at work so I will be writing to it. I definitely won’t go for a blue cloner, probably gonna go for the proxmark3 easy or rdv2 since it seems pretty solid for the price.
Good decision, PROs
It is not that much more $$
You won’t have to unlock it to re-write to it later
Better antenna ( not as good as the DT LF antenna with a PM3 RDV4)
If you get an xM1 of FlexM1 you will have something to write to that also
Blue cloner is cheaper… but not too much
Proxmark is not as simple to use as a blue cloner Read button & Write Button
If you need to configure your implant once for a particular purpose and you’re paranoid, get the Proxmark3 RDV4, the DT LF antenna, and program it in the syringe. Once you’re sure it’s good, implant it. You retain the ability to reprogram it under your skin later. But at least for the first application, it’s 100% safe.
If you’re only planning on doing the one write you could go with the cloning service offered by DT.
That is assuming your NExT hasn’t shipped out yet.
That being said having your own tools is a good step if you plan on adding to or changing your collection of implants. But if you never plan on changing the LF side and your trying to get a 100% good write and minimal hassle the cloning service would be the route, just my $0.02.
The cloning service would be nice, but for cloning my work badge it just seemed impractical to be without my way of entry at my work for any extended amount of time. Plus, I’m interested in tinkering and what not with RFID in general so I want to be in complete control of my chip(s) in order to accomplished my goals for future projects.
Besides, I’m not worried about bricking because it’ll be inside me, but because it would be a very dejecting waste of money.
@CybRiver you did the right thing in getting a Proxmark 3 easy! It will open up new world’s for you. As far as bricking, it’s hard to truly your implant. In the sense that it doesn’t interact like it should does not mean it’s truly bricked. That being said most issues can be fixed with your new Proxmark . Make sure you learn placement continuous reads over and over till it becomes second hand. You can also bandage the Proxmark down to your hand during your first write to feel more comfortable. Let us know how it goes.
Also first thing before even interacting with your Proxmark and your chip make sure it’s got Icemans repo on it .
Looks like @MouSkxy must be busy, I will still let him answer your ACTUAL question,[quote=“CybRiver, post:19, topic:5865”]
explain what having Icemans repo does?
as he is far more knowledgeable than I.
But for context, Iceman is to Proxmark what @amal is to biohacking.
His Repo is the Gold standard, and what most, if not all professionals with a Proxmark Run
If you have the then grab yourself a Proxmark3 RDV4 with DT LF antenna
If you want to save some money, grab the almost as capable PM3 Easy @anon2520759 found a good one, see below
So you will just need to learn a few commands, and you will be set!