Reading some RFID cards

Note that this information is incomplete at best, and possibly incorrect. It is purely what I’ve gleaned from observation and subsequent web-searching. Your actions are your own responsibility. Reading RFID cards with the Proxmark is probably the most common use-case; it’s certainly the thing I do most often, followed by attempting to write the info onto a cloned card to verify that I’ve read all of the relevant info from the card.

A Tale of Three Firmwares

The first thing to do with any new Proxmark is to update the firmware on it. The client is particularly choosy about being from the same version as the firmware, and generally updating firmware is a good thing to do. Stock firmware First, clone the git repository at As we’ll come on to, this isn’t actually the firmware which I’m running, but it’s a great place to start. Compiling the firmware is easy; a simple make all is all it takes, as long as you have all of the dependencies (which are listed in the “COMPILING.

Starting Out on RFID

RFID is everywhere. In our contactless payment systems, in transport cards like Oyster and Chipkart and M-card season tickets, in hotel room doors, in office door locks, in some domestic door locks, in phones, even in some advertising posters. I’ve seen bluetooth devices use it to make pairing easier. But how does it actually work? And how secure is it? A few months back, I became fascinated by RFID, and decided to learn more about it.

Register ThingsNode at TTN

With your newly-acquired EUI, you can now register your device at The Things Network (TTN) and then configure the ThingsNode to communicate through your gateway (or someone else’s, as long as it’s connected to TTN). Before you can add a device to TTN, you need to have an application to which to add the device. This is totally unrelated to a gateway; your devices can send messages to your “application” through any TTN-connected gateway, not just yours, and your gateway could transit LoRaWAN packets for any other TTN application.

LoRaWAN Things Nodes

Along with the LoRaWAN gateway, I also bought some nodes - 2 to be precise - which I could now start to play with given that my gateway was connected to TTN. The nodes need some configuration (not least the LoRaWAN keys). More than that, they need some code - out of the box they are simply Arduino devices with some sensors and a LoRa radio. The overall instructions are at https://www.

Gateway Setup

Having acquired a LoRaWAN gateway and registered an account on The Things Network (TTN), now I had to configure it. The Laird Sentrius gateway (like many LoRaWAN gateways these days) comes with a config template ready to connect to TTN. “Great!” I thought, “just give it my credentials and all will be well with the world!". Sadly, I was mistaken. To begin with, you need to setup a new gateway on TTN.

Starting Out

Adventures in LoRaWAN I’ve decided that I need a new area to geek-out over, and that I need to document that experience. Hence this blog. I guess we first heard about LoRaWAN around a year ago, at the IoT Leeds July 2017 meetup, featuring Alan Pope (Advocate at Canonical) talking about snapd, and Philip Handley (Head of Technology Strategy at Arqiva) with an interesting talk about a variety of low-power radio options.