important The Proxmark 3 is an obselete device, and the information provided below is for reference only. It has been superceded by the Proxmark 3 RDV 4 and the Proxmark EVO.
The Proxmark 3 was originally created as a PHD project by Jonathan Westhues to facilitate the research of RFID systems.
At the time of its design, microcontrollers were unable to provide the the high-bandwidth signal processing and precise timing required by the RFID protocols.
Likewise, Software Defined Radio, or SDR, was not yet an accessible technology, requiring an entirely custom solution to be built.
As such, as split architecture was designed: a microcontroller provides the high-level functionality (cli tool, etc) while an FPGA handled the heavy lifting.
While the device has gone through several iterations, the architecture remains the same, a double edged sword.
An unchanging architecture allowed for the maturation of a single code-base, which could be used across several hardware revisions.
This in turn created a strong community, which was able to continue to develop and maintain the project over the years.
However, the FPGA/MCU achitecture is technically outdated. FPGA programming is a distinct and complicated skillset, and the Proxmark 3 Codebase became increasingly fractured over time, resulting in hardware instabilities.
The Proxmark 3 RDV4 team made the decision to fork the codebase, which will enable them to refactor, refine and optimise the code for their next generation device.
The Proxmark 3 EVO remains completey compatible with the original Proxmark 3 Codebase.
Since it was open-sourced, there have been multiple commercial versions of the Proxmark. Originally manufactured individually or in small runs, a handful of manufacturers began to commercialise the device.
Versions of note:
- XFPGA / RadioWar
- CPU Variants of AT91SAM7S512
- Storage 512Kb SPI flash
- Interface Typically, 1x mode LEDs, 1x button.
- LF Untuned, external
- HF Untuned, external
Buy a Proxmark 3
The Proxmark 3 is obselete hardware. It has been replaced by the Proxmark 3 EVO and Proxmark 3 RDV 4. Please click here for official distributors.