Can I Copy an HID Proximity Card

The answer is YES! Yes, it is possible to copy HID Prox Cards!

Maybe you’ve lost your work ID and thought about making a backup, or perhaps you’re just curious about how these common security cards work. 

HID stands for Hughes Identification Devices, a company renowned for its innovative security solutions. This company makes many different types of security cards and readers. A proximity card is a type of card that can be read by a special device without needing to touch it. You just need to hold the card close to the reader.

HID Proxcard 2 looks like regular plastic ID cards, but they are far more sophisticated. Inside, they have a tiny computer chip and an antenna. The chip holds a unique code number. When you hold the card near a reader, the reader sends out a radio signal. This powers up the chip in the card. The chip then sends its code number back to the reader using the antenna.

If the code matches what the security system is looking for, you’ll be allowed to enter. The door might unlock, or a gate might open. This all happens very quickly usually in less than a second. As a result, HID prox card II is widely used in various sectors, including corporate offices, government buildings, and residential complexes.

How HID Cards Store Information

The main information on an HID card is its unique code number. This number is usually 26 to 37 bits long. A bit is the smallest unit of data in computing – it’s just a 1 or a 0.

So a 26-bit proximity card number might look like this in binary code: 1011010110101010101010101.

This code is split into three parts:

  • A site code (usually 8 bits): This part of the code identifies the location or site. It’s the same for all cards issued at a specific site, allowing the system to know where the card should be used.
  • A unique ID number (usually 16 bits): This part of the code is unique to each card. It ensures that no two cards have the same identifier, allowing the system to distinguish between different cardholders.
  • A parity bit (for error checking): The bit is used to verify the accuracy of the data. It helps in detecting any errors that might occur during the transmission of the code.

The site code and unique ID number together create a unique code for each card. This code is stored in the card’s chip when the card is manufactured. Regular HID proximity cards can’t be changed once they’re made; the code is permanent.

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Methods for Copying HID Cards

There are a few different ways that people have figured out to copy prox card II HID. Here are the main methods:

Using a Proxmark Device

A Proxmark is a special tool made for testing radio frequency identification (RFID) systems. It can read the signal from an HID card and save the code. Then it can send out that same code, acting like the original card.

To use a Proxmark, you need to:

  • Get close to the original card (within a few inches): Proxmark needs to be within a short range to accurately read the card’s signal.
  • Use the Proxmark to read the card’s code: The device will scan the card and capture the unique code stored within it.
  • Save that code on a computer: Captured code is saved digitally for future use.
  • Use the Proxmark to send out the saved code: Proxmark can then emulate the card by transmitting the saved code, allowing it to function as a cloned card.

This method doesn’t make a physical copy of the card. Instead, it lets the Proxmark pretend to be the card.

Using a Card Copier

Some companies sell devices made just for copying proximity cards. These work similarly to the Proxmark. They read the code from one card and write it to a blank card.

To use a card copier, you:

  • Put the original card on the device: The copier scans the card to read its unique code.
  • Place a blank card on the device: Copier needs a blank card to write the copied code onto.
  • Press a button to copy the code: A simple push transfers the code from the original card to the blank card.

This makes a physical copy of the card that should work just like the original. This method is popular because it’s straightforward and provides a tangible duplicate of the card.

Using Long-Range Readers

This method doesn’t make a copy. Instead, it tries to read the card from far away. Normal HID readers only work within a few inches. But some people have made readers that can pick up card signals from several feet away.

To do this, you need:

  • A powerful antenna: This antenna boosts the range at which the card can be read.
  • A device to boost the radio signal: Enhancing the signal strength allows the reader to capture the card’s code from a greater distance.
  • A way to save the code that’s read: The captured code needs to be stored digitally for future use.

This method is more complicated. It’s mainly used by security researchers to show how cards could be read without the owner knowing.

Social Engineering

This isn’t really a technical method as it’s more about tricking people. Someone might pretend to be from the security team and ask to see your card or they might watch over your shoulder to see your code when you type it in.

While not a copying method, it’s a way that people try to get around card security. Social engineering exploits human psychology rather than technological vulnerabilities.

Why Copying HID Cards is Usually Not Allowed

Even though it’s possible to copy HID cards, there are good reasons why it’s usually not allowed:

It’s Often Illegal

In many places, copying access cards without permission is against the law. It can be seen as a form of fraud or unauthorized access. The exact laws vary, but you could get in serious trouble for making copies. Legal consequences can include fines, imprisonment, or both.

It Breaks Security Rules

Most companies and buildings have rules against copying access cards. Breaking these rules could get you fired or banned from the building. It’s seen as a serious breach of trust. Adhering to these rules is crucial for maintaining a secure environment.

It Can Lead to Security Problems

If copied cards are out there, it’s harder to control who has access to secure areas. This could lead to theft, data breaches, or other security issues. It undermines the whole point of having a secure access system. Unauthorized access can compromise sensitive information and assets.

It’s Ethically Questionable

Even if you don’t plan to do anything bad, copying security cards without permission isn’t right. It’s a form of deception that goes against basic workplace ethics. Integrity is a fundamental value in any professional setting.

It Can Cause Problems for You

If something bad happens and it’s found that you copied your card, you could be blamed – even if you didn’t do anything wrong. It’s not worth the risk. The potential consequences can damage your reputation and career.

Alternatives to Copying Cards

If you have a legitimate reason for needing another card or more access, there are better ways to go about it:

Ask for a New Card

If your card is lost or damaged, ask the security team for a new one. They can deactivate the old card and give you a new one. This ensures that the lost or damaged card cannot be misused.

Request Additional Access

If you need to get into areas your card doesn’t cover, talk to your manager. They can request additional access for you if it’s needed for your job. This is a formal and secure way to adjust access levels as needed.

Use Temporary Passes

Many places have systems for giving out temporary access cards to visitors or contractors. Use these official systems instead of trying to copy cards. Temporary passes provide controlled and monitored access.

Suggest Improvements

If you think the current system isn’t working well, suggest improvements to management. Maybe there’s a better way to handle access that would work for everyone. Open communication can lead to more effective and secure solutions.

How Companies Protect Against Card Copying

Companies and security teams know that card copying is possible. They use several methods to protect against it:

Using More Secure Cards

Newer types of HID cards use encryption and other security features. These are much harder to copy than older cards. Enhanced security features make it significantly more challenging to clone these cards.

Combining Cards with PINs

Some systems require both a card and a PIN (personal identification number). This means that even if someone copies your card, they can’t use it without knowing your PIN. This dual-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security.

Using Biometrics

Some high-security areas use fingerprints, eye scans, or face recognition along with cards. These are very hard to fake. Biometrics ensures that only the rightful cardholder can gain access.

Regularly Changing Codes

Some systems change the codes that work periodically. So even if someone copies a card, it might stop working after a while. Dynamic codes make it difficult for unauthorized copies to function over time.

Monitoring Usage

Security teams often watch for unusual card usage. If your card is used in two places at once, or at odd times, they might investigate. Monitoring helps identify and address suspicious activities promptly.

Training Employees

Many companies train their workers in card security. They teach people not to lend their cards or let others tailgate (follow them through secure doors). Awareness and adherence to security protocols are crucial for maintaining a secure environment.

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The Future of Access Control

As technology improves, access control systems are changing. Here are some trends:

Mobile Access

Instead of cards, some places let you use your smartphone to get in. This can be more secure because phones can use strong encryption. Mobile access solutions offer convenience and enhanced security features.

Cloud-Based Systems

New systems store access information in the cloud. This makes it easier to update and control access from anywhere. Cloud-based systems provide scalability and remote management capabilities.

Artificial Intelligence

AI systems can learn normal patterns of building access. They can spot unusual activity that might mean someone is using a copied card. AI enhances security by detecting anomalies and potential threats.

Multi-Factor Authentication

More places are using systems that require two or more ways to prove who you are. This might be a card plus a fingerprint, or a phone app plus a face scan. Multi-factor authentication significantly increases security by requiring multiple forms of verification.

Internet of Things (IoT) Integration

Access systems are being connected to other building systems. This can make buildings more efficient and secure. IoT integration enables seamless communication between various security and management systems.


While it is technically possible to copy most HID proximity cards, doing so without permission is usually illegal, against the rules, and ethically wrong. It can lead to serious problems for both individuals and organizations.

If you need different access, it’s always best to go through official channels. Talk to your manager or the security team about your needs. They can find a proper solution that keeps everyone safe and follows the rules.

At Bristol ID Technologies, we specialize in creating high-quality, customizable ID solutions tailored to meet the unique needs of our clients. Our extensive product range includes 26 Bit proximity cards, RFID tags, and other advanced identification technologies designed to enhance security and streamline access control.