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Friday, October 3, 2008


What is a phreaker?
Literally, a phreaker is a "phone hacker". However a phreaker can be anyone who messes around with phones or phone lines. The same way a hacker is not necessarily someone who cracks government files, but someone that messes around with computers.

Why become a phreaker?
Only become a phreaker if you are committed to it, interested in it, and in need of a hobby. Do not, and I stress do not become a phreaker to impress your friends. If you want to impress your friends then do something else. Also, do not become a hacker to impress your friends, you must be stupid if you try to impress your friends by becoming a hacker or a phreaker. If you want to learn how to phreak or how to hack just to impress your friends i suggest that you stop reading now, and leave. Anyway.. you should do it for either the fun of it, or to learn about the phone companies and their system of widespread telephony.

Much of the information here contains illegal activities. This document is for informational purposes only. Do not attempt anything stated in this document. If you do attempt anything here, you are solely responsible for what you do. If you get caught and get in any kind of trouble, it is your own fault. If you do not agree to this, do not read any further.

Part 1: Prank Calling
You may have heard the term "boxing" (boxing refers to the building of various phone add-ons) associated with phreaking before. However boxing is in no way all that phreaking has to offer. Boxing is phreaking, but phreaking is not boxing.
Got it?

Now I'm going to begin with one of the easiest and most phun areas of phreaking--prank calling! Before we get into prank calling, let me tell you a few things that prank calling is not.

-dialing a random number, screaming FUCK YOU!!!, and hanging up (although occasionally I get a kick out of that).

-repeatedly dialing the same number over and over again, and every time someone picks up, you hang up. This drives the person insane, but it is still not a phreak.

Ok...So what is a prank call you ask? Well A prank call is when you call someone up, lead them on for as long as you can (the key to success in prank calling is the longer you stay on, the better), and hang up with them still thinking that was a real call. The call can be funny or serious. An example of a serious call would be calling someone up, and getting important information on them (i.e. credit card number, be creative). A funny call is one where you make the person think that you are messed up. An example is a great one from Crankings (a prank calling group) where a guy calls up a Mobile gas station claiming his son used their oil as a sexual lubricant. He then asked the gas station attendant if his son's dick would fall off. I was cracking up. That was an example of a real prank call. The key to a funny call is that it can be funny to you without pissing them off. In the previous call, the callers, and anybody who heard the call was cracking up, but the gas station attendant was not angry. He just thought he was talking to some really screwed up people.

One mistake I made was that I used to think you had to piss the other person off to make it funny for you. But I was wrong. Once I called up a woman and asked her if she was satisfied with her sex life. I went into all these other things and kept her on the phone for a few minutes. A little later her husband or boyfriend or whatever called back. He recited my address then added, "That's where you live punk?"

Which brings me to the next part--don't get caught!!

Well first of all if you are calling from home, you better use *67 or whatever.However the best thing to use is a caller-id blocker box. It makes it so your name will not show up on a caller id, while *67 only stops your number from *69. Well now you ask, where do I obtain a caller-id blocker box? Well, there are 2 ways. The first is to get one from one of those "things you never knew existed catalog", the drawback is the price sometimes (remember shipping and handling) and the fact that it will take a few days to get to you, plus it is non-returnable and non-refundable. The next way is to pick one up from Radio Shack. The drawback to this is that not all Radio Shack stores carry them, and it may be hard to obtain. However this is probably your best bet.

One last note on prank calling- Practice, practice, practice. If you feel the need to laugh, press mute, or hang-up. Try not to piss people off.

And oh yeah, I have discovered one of the most fun prank calls. You call someone up, and say, "mom, can you pick me up now?", or something of the sort, then lead them on to other stuff, be creative. From my experience, this works at least 40% of the time. Another form of this is to call someone up, and ask for a common name, (like Josh or David or something) then claim to be their friend. If they ask who you are, use another common name like Michael or something. Then say, you want them to come over to your house, or to meet them somewhere. This call works less of the time, but when it does, it's great...So don't screw it up!

Still kind of unsure about what you're doing? Here's some dialogs to help you:

[ME] "Hello, this is John from the National Survey Society, may I please speak to Mrs. _____ (name withheld)?"

[HER] "Speaking."

[ME] "Yes, I'm doing a survey and I have a few questions to ask you."

[HER] ......

[ME] "Are you totally satisfied with your sex life?"

[HER] "Excuse me?"

[ME] "Are you sexually ful-"

[HER] "What? Who is this?"

[ME] "If you're not satisfied we can offer you some great prices on the finest porn..."

[HER] ::click::


Part 2: Boxing
Let me begin by saying that this document is for informational purposes only. Do not attempt anything written here. You are responsible for your own actions.

Oh, and one more thing- along with phreaking comes a code of ethics. I can't tell what that is, you'll have to find out yourself. But the one thing I will tell you is that you should never fuck with people who don't deserve it. If you want to screw people up, make sure they are assholes who deserve it.

To begin, what exactly is boxing? As I said before, boxing refers to the building of various phone add-ons. These add-ons can do anything from adding music to your line to making free phone calls. There are over 40 boxes in all.

Box names are usually named after colors, such as the red box, or the yellow box. However some are named for other things such as the cheese box and the tron box. Boxes are used by phreakers everywhere. The most popular boxes are the red box and beige box.

FYI (for your information): You might think that boxes were invented and are only used by teenage phreakers, but that is not true. One of the most famous phreakers is Cap'n Crunch, who is long past his teenage years. As a matter of fact, the first box ever made was the blue box (free long distance calls). It was made in the 70's by Steve Jobs, who later founded Apple Computer.

On The Lighter Side: With his blue box, Steve Jobs made one of the most famous prank calls in history. He called up Vatican city, and pranked the pope.

So far, you have made prank calls, which makes you a phreaker. However your adventures are still related to hacking. Boxes are the clincher, the line that truly separates phreaking from hacking. This is because boxing is a form of phreaking called "field phreaking". As a hacker, you sit at your computer all day. When you make prank calls, you still just sit at home. But as a field phreaker, you go out an do things.

Now we come to the next section-your first box. But before we get into your first box, here's a list of tools to keep handy when you're out field phreaking:
-Backpack for holding these tools:
-wire strippers-a MUST have
-7/16 hex driver
-3/8 hex driver
-Philips head screw driver (large)
-Philips head screw driver (small)
-flathead screw driver (large)
-flathead screw driver (small)
-alligator clips
-2 feet of extra telephone wire
-good, sharp scissors
-binoculars (for day snooping, from your backyard) (locate boxes on people's houses during the day, it saves you the time of having to look for it, and getting caught.)
-small flashlight
-Swiss army knife (optional, but very useful) with:
-Philips head screw driver
-flat head screw driver
-long knife
-short knife
-A Partner (once again optional but useful. You should always have a partner for field phreaking "missions", but generally, you should have about 2-3 other "phreaking buddies".)
FYI: Yet another reason that separates phreaking from hacking. A partner will always help in field phreaking "missions". Sometimes you will see that having a partner will make the "mission" a more fun experience, plus they can help you out of sticky situations. This is also true in prank calling, because why would you prank call if you have no one to laugh about it with?

Got everything? Good. Now we can finally get to making your first box.

First of all, the box you will be making is called the beige box. It is very easy to make and has many purposes. Anytime you see the words "lineman's headset" or "test phone", they are referring to the beige box.

What is it? Did a phone guy ever come to your house to repair or install something? Or have you seen the phone working up top the phone pole? Look at his tool belt. There is a bright orange phone, you can't miss it. This phone is called a lineman's headset. Usually, after the phone guy repairs a line, or installs a new one, he uses the lineman's headset to test and see if the line is working. This is what we'll be making, but we have other purposes for it.

Basically, the beige box enables a phone to be hooked directly to the line. Usually, you hook the phone up to a jack, which is hooked up to the line, however the beige box eliminates the need for a jack. Can you think of any uses for this? Yup, that's right, with the beige box, you can use someone's phone line without having to go inside their house and hook up to the jack.

Don't get so excited just yet, we haven't built it yet.

Parts you will need for this:
-a phone
-phone wire with modular jacks at both ends. (one goes into the phone, the other goes into the jack)
-alligator clips

Tools you will need for this:
-wire stripper
-scissors, or knife
-7/16 hex driver (for later)

that's all? Yup! With such few things needed to make this, it can't be hard, and it's not.
Step 1: If one end of the phone wire is not already connected to the phone line, do so now.

Step 2: Cut off the modular jack at the other end. Strip about 6 inches of the outside wire. This is not easy, because the wire is very thick. You may want to take the scissors and make a small cut in the wire (not too deep or you will cut the inside wires) and put it off.

Step 3: There should be four wires inside. Yellow, green, red and black. Discard the black and yellow wires, you don't need them. Concentrate on the red and green wires.

Step 4: Strip the green wire. Now strip the red wire.

Step 5: Connect one alligator clip to the red wire, then connect one to the green wire.
CONGRATULATIONS, you have a beige box.

Were those directions too hard to follow? Here's a step by step schematic:
Step 1:
| |
| Phone |
Modular Jack-> |||
Phone wire----->|-----------------
Step 2:

Strip Wire
Here ____
__________________________________________________| |
Phone wire->--------------------------------------------------|___|
Cut here--------^ ^
Modular Jack---------^
Step 3:

it [the wire] should look (somewhat) like this:

^------|Wires to concentrate on
_ <----|
All in all, it should look like this:
| |
| Phone |
|______________________|---|<> <-
|---|<> |
Alligator clips---^--|
Now that you've built your beige box, let's see what you can use it for.

You have just built the most basic beige box, which means it has no security options. When using this box, it is very easy to get caught. That is why you will only be using this beige box on your own phone line. Later in this tutorial I will show how to build the Beige Box Advanced System (BBAS), my own advanced version of the beige box. You can use the BBAS on other people's phone lines. But first, let's see how we attach the beige box to your phone line.

You will need the 7/16 hex driver for this.

First thing is to locate the phone box outside your house. It is usually on the side of your house, or in the backyard. Most of the time it is near your heating shit. It is usually gray or beige, and has a bell logo on it. To open the box put your hand on the bottom, push up and open it. If that fails pop it open with the hex driver. All you have to do now is connect the alligator clip on the red wire to the wire in the box, do the same with the green wire. This is hard to explain so I've drawn a schematic:
It should look (somewhat) like this:
| |
| | <----Phone Box
| ** <-----Screws--> **>=<| |
| Alligator clip^ | |
| | |
| Red Wire (sometimes green-->| |
| | |
| | |
| |____|______________
| Screws--> ** | ^ | |
|Modular Jack cut from here------^ | |
| | | |
| | | |
| Green Wire (sometimes red)-->| | |
| | | |
| | | |<--Phone Wire
| ** <----Screws--> **>=<| | |
| ^ | |
| Alligator Clip^ | |
| | |
------------------------------------- |
_____________________________________ |
| | |
| | |
| Phone |______________|
| |
| | ^Phone Wire
This may be hard to follow, but try, reading schematics is something you'll have to do if you want to build boxes in the future.

Now pick up the phone. If you hear a dial tone, you are now officially a field phreaker. If not retrace your steps.

Ok, you've built your beige box. You can't quite use it yet because it has no safety precautions. Don't worry, I'll get to the BBAS later. But for now, I'm going to teach you one of the most talked about techniques in all of phreaking--(drum roll please) Red Boxing.

Well I'm assuming that if you went around to enough phreaking sites to find this tutorial, then you must have heard the term red boxing before. But for those of you who didn't...

What exactly is red boxing?
Red boxing is a way of getting free calls off of pay phones. The way this is works is because when you insert a quarter into a pay phone, it makes a tone which signals the phone that you can make a call.

Tones? Huh?
Each coin that you put into the phone signals a different combination of tones. All the tones are at the same frequency, 1700Hz + 2200Hz. As i said, each coin has a different tone combo, here they are:

Nickel: 66 MS (milliseconds) on.
Dime: 66 MS on, 66 MS off, 66 MS on.
Quarter: 33 MS on, 33 MS off. That is repeated 5 times.

I Still Don't Understand.
Let me explain. A nickel is 66 MS on. This means it plays the tone for 66 MS.
A dime however is 66 MS on, 66 MS off, 66 MS on. This means that first it plays the tone for 66 MS, just like the nickel. After that, it plays 66 MS of silence. After that, it plays the tone for 66 MS again.

How does red boxing work?
What the red box does is generate the tones that the phone makes when you put in a quarter,
Thus giving you a free call.

What is the difference between the red box, and red boxing?
One thing you must remember is that a red box does not give you free calls from a payphone.
All the red box does is generate tones, which can be used for free calls.

Are you getting an idea? What if I could alternatively obtain the tones? Then I could make free pay phone calls without the trouble of building a red box!

Well there are a few ways to do this.

First, you could go to HTTP://_______.____.___.___ and pick up the tones from there, but hey, you're a phreaker, and you like to do things yourself.

Well, the first thought that probably comes to mind when you here this is to put a tape recorder to a phone, put in a quarter, and record the tone it makes. That way you get unlimited payphone calls for a quarter. However it is not that easy, in fact there are two things wrong with this method.

The first thing wrong is the tape recorder. You see, the tones generated by the phone are digital. Your tape recorder on the other hand is analog. When you record digital tones on to an analog tape recorder (although you can't hear it) they become to distorted for the phone to recognize. Your best bet is to get one of those personal hand recorders. You know, the ones you always see in ads? Those are digital because they use a chip to record the sounds, not a tape.

Even if you a digital recorder to the phone, there is still a problem--background noise. This also distorts the tones, making them unusable. However there is a way around this using your answering machine.

First off, you'll need a digital answering machine. If you've bought an answering machine in the past year and a half or so, it's digital. Mine is the AT&T 1720 Digital Answering Machine.

Now here's what you have to do. When no one is home, go to a payphone and call your house. Since no one is home, the answering machine will pick up. When you hear the tone, put a quarter or two into the phone. When you get home, record the tones from your answering machine to your digital recorder.

Now that you are all set go to a payphone. Pick up the phone and play the tones. There you go.

Usually this works perfect on long distance calls. But for local calls, you might have to speak to an operator. But before you do, you better get some practice because speaking to an operator is the number one way that phreakers get caught.

Overwhelmed? Don't be. You know more than you think. You must be tired now, so we're going to take a little break. Maybe now you should eat, go to the bathroom, call a friend (if you still have any) get out of your house, go somewhere, maybe make a few prank calls. Just don't get caught.

But for now you should sit back and read some good phreaking literature. You can start with this adventure story.
Bad as Shit
Recently, a telephone fanatic in the northwest made an interesting discovery. He was exploring the 804 area code (Virginia) and found out that the 840 exchange did something strange.

In the vast majority of cases, in fact in all of the cases except one, he would get a recording as if the exchange didn't exist. However, if he dialed 804-840 and four rather predictable numbers, he got a ring!

After one or two rings, somebody picked up. Being experienced at this kind of thing, he could tell that the call didn't "supe", that is, no charges were being incurred for calling this number. (Calls that get you to an error message, or a special operator, generally don't supervise.) A female voice, with a hint of a Southern accent said,

"Operator, can I help you?"

"Yes," he said, "What number have I reached?"

"What number did you dial, sir?"

He made up a number that was similar.

"I'm sorry that is not the number you reached." Click.

He was fascinated. What in the world was this? He knew he was going to call back, but before he did, he tried some more experiments. He tried the 840 exchange in several other area codes. In some, it came up as a valid exchange.

In others, exactly the same thing happened -- the same last four digits, the same Southern belle. Oddly enough, he later noticed, the areas worked in seemed to travel in a beeline from Washington DC to Pittsburgh, PA.

He called back from a payphone. "Operator, can I help you?"

"Yes, this is the phone company. I'm testing this line and we don't seem to have an identification on your circuit. What office is this, please?"

"What number are you trying to reach?"

"I'm not trying to reach any number. I'm trying to identify this circuit."

"I'm sorry, I can't help you."

"Ma'am, if I don't get an ID on this line, I'll have to disconnect it. We show no record of it here."

"Hold on a moment, sir."

After about a minute, she came back. "Sir, I can have someone speak to you. Would you give me your number, please?"

He had anticipated this and he had the payphone number ready. After he gave it, she said, "Mr. XXX will get right back to you."

"Thanks." He hung up the phone. It rang. INSTANTLY! "Oh my God," he thought, "They weren't asking for my number -- they were confirming it!"

"Hello," he said, trying to sound authoritative.

"This is Mr. XXX. Did you just make an inquiry to my office concerning a phone number?"

"Yes. I need an identi--"

"What you need is advice. Don't ever call that number again. Forget you ever knew it."

At this point our friend got so nervous he just hung up. He expected to hear the phone ring again but it didn't.

Over the next few days he racked his brains trying to figure out what the number was. He knew it was something big -- that was pretty certain at this point. It was so big that the number was programmed into every central office in the country. He knew this because if he tried to dial any other number in that exchange, he'd get a local error message from his CO, as if the exchange didn't exist.

It finally came to him. He had an uncle who worked in a federal agency. He had a feeling that this was government related and if it was, his uncle could probably find out what it was. He asked the next day and his uncle promised to look into the matter.

The next time he saw his uncle, he noticed a big change in his manner. He was trembling. "Where did you get that number?!" he shouted. "Do you know I almost got fired for asking about it?!? They kept wanting to know where I got it."

Our friend couldn't contain his excitement. "What is it?" he pleaded.

"What's the number?!"


He never called the number after that. He knew that he could probably cause quite a bit of excitement by calling the number and saying something like, "The weather's not good in Washington. We're coming over for a visit." But our friend was smart. he knew that there were some things that were better off unsaid and undone.

From Tue Jun 12 06:40:26 1990

Taken from "The Official Phreaker's Manual".

Well I've putting it off long enough, and if you've accomplished everything, you are ready to build the BBAS.

Let me take back something I just said. You see, sometimes us phreakers are pressed for time. We can't just build things from scratch. So now instead of building the BBAS from nothing, we're going to modify the beige box we already have. Although we're only going to make some small changes, these are very important changes. The main improvement on the BBAS is that is has features to prevent you from getting discovered and caught. And if I must, once again-- there is no sure way to prevent getting caught. But don't get discovered, and don't do anything that's bad.

Well since we're only going to be modifying the beige box, we won't need many parts. Here is a list of things you'll need for the BBAS:
-your beige box
-a phone with an "in-use" light
-clip, to hold down mute. (This is hard to find and use, but very useful)
-Wire Strippers
-A simple switch (can be bought for under $2USD at any hardware store
Ok, here's what to do:

STEP 1: Switch the phone you have already with the phone that has the "in-use" light.

STEP 2: Cut the phone wire in half around the middle of it.

STEP 3: Strip some wire off both of the new ends of the wire.

The switch should have 2 screws on it.

STEP 4: Wrap one of the new ends of the wire (both wires, red and green) around one screw, and the other new end around the other screw.
It should look (somewhat) like this:
| |
| Phone |------====*|||||*===--------=====
|_______________| ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^
Wire stripped here--^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^
Red and green wires----^ ^ ^ ^ ^_____
| Screws--^ ^--Switch ^
| |________^ ^
Now lets how to explain how to use it.

Put the clip (if you have one) on the mute button of the phone. This is for the occasion that you plug into someone's line while they're on the phone, and you don't want them hearing any noises.

Put the batteries in the phone. For the light, will be in the phone manual.

The switch is a "panic" switch. It is used to immediately disconnect your call if you're on someone's phone and then they pick up.

Finding a House to use your BBAS on.

Some houses have the *original* grey box with the bell logo on it, but some houses, such as mine, have a small box on it that says Telephone Network Interface on it.It should have telephone wires going into the bottom, and coming out of the top. This phone box has Customer Access, protected by one screw, and Telco Access, protected by a 3/8 hex screw. You don't really need telco access, also if you want telco access you need the 3/8 hex driver as mentioned in the above tool list. All you need is customer access. So, whip out your philips head screw driver and and unscrew the customer access part, when you feel the screw getting loose, just open up the customer access part, it should open up half of the box. Now you should see four screw things, black, yellow, green, and red. Here's what it should look like:
_ _
black-> {-} {-} <-yellow
_ _
green-> {-} {-} <- red
^ ^-|
| Red: clip the red one right here.
Green: clip the alligator clip that is connected to the
green wire here.
Ya see? they're right next to eachother on the bottom, its easy. then you just put your phone to your ear.

Now the first rule of phreaking I always say, is knowing where you are, and this is very important because one of the most frustrating things that happens when field phreaking is not knowing what number you are beige boxing from. Lucky for us phreakers there are things called Automated Number Identification Numbers (ANI or ANAC). When you dial the ANAC number for your area code, a recording will come on and name your phone number. So naturally, this is perfect for beige boxing. The only catch is that there is a different ANAC for each area code. Here is the complete list of ANAC numbers for each area code:
Area Code: ANAC Number:

201 958
202 811
203 970
205 300-222-2222
205 300-555-5555
205 300-648-1111
205 300-765-4321
205 300-798-1111
205 300-833-3333
205 557-2311
205 811
205 841-1111
205 908-222-2222
206 411
207 958
209 830-2121
209 211-9779
210 830
212 958
213 114
213 1223
213 211-2345
213 211-2346
213 760-2???
213 61056
214 570
214 790
214 970-222-2222
214 970-611-1111
215 410-????
215 511
215 958
216 200-????
216 331
216 959-9968
217 200-???-????
219 550
219 559
301 958-9968
310 114
310 1223
310 211-2345
310 211-2346
312 200
312 290
312 1-200-8825
312 1-200-555-1212
313 200-200-2002
313 200-222-2222
313 200-???-????
313 200200200200200
314 410-????
315 953
315 958
315 998
317 310-222-2222
317 559-222-2222
317 743-1218
334 5572411
334 5572311
401 200-200-4444
401 222-2222
402 311
404 311
404 940-???-????
404 940
405 890-7777777
405 897
407 200-222-2222
408 300-???-????
408 760
408 940
409 951
409 970-????
410 200-6969
410 200-555-1212
410 811
412 711-6633
412 711-4411
412 999-????
413 958
413 200-555-5555
414 330-2234
415 200-555-1212
415 211-2111
415 2222
415 640
415 760-2878
415 7600-2222
419 311
502 200-2222222
502 997-555-1212
503 611
503 999
504 99882233
504 201-269-1111
504 998
504 99851-0000000000
508 958
508 200-222-1234
508 200-222-2222
508 26011
509 560
510 760-1111
512 830
512 970-????
515 5463
515 811
516 958
516 968
517 200-222-2222
517 200200200200200
518 511
518 997
518 998
603 200-222-2222
606 997-555-1212
606 711
607 993
609 958
610 958
610 958-4100
612 511
614 200
614 517
615 200200200200200
615 2002222222
615 830
616 200-222-2222
617 200-222-1234
617 200-222-2222
617 200-444-4444
617 220-2622
617 958
618 200-???-????
618 930
619 211-2001
619 211-2121
703 811
704 311
707 211-2222
708 1-200-555-1212
708 1-200-8825
708 200-6153
708 724-9951
708 356-9646
713 380
713 970-????
713 811
714 114
714 211-2121
714 211-2222
716 511
716 990
717 958
718 958
802 2-222-222-2222
802 200-222-2222
802 1-700-222-2222
802 111-2222
804 990
805 114
805 211-2345
805 211-2346
805 830
806 970-????
810 200200200200200
812 410-555-1212
813 311
815 200-???-????
817 290
817 211
818 970-611-1111
818 1223
818 211-2345
903 211-2346
904 970-611-1111
906 200-222-222
907 1-200-222-2222
907 811
908 958
910 200
910 311
910 988
914 990-1111
915 970-????
916 211-2222
916 461
919 200
919 711
Now the second rule is never to get caught. If you call someone from someone else's line, tell that person that you might get disconnected suddenly.

If you hear someone pick up the phone, while you are on it, use the switch to disconnect your call. Unhook your BBAS, and run like hell.

Also, you should be very cautious. Before you go phreaking, think of an alibi of why you were snooping around in someone's yard.

NEVER, and I stress NEVER, use the BBAS on someone's house more than twice. You WILL get caught.

Also I said before that if you hear someone on the line when you hook up the BBAS that you should immediately hang up, if you want to make a call. This is not entirely true. What if you didn't want to make a call. Got my drift? If you didn't, I'm talking about eavesdropping!
That's what the clip on the mute button is for.

Although it might not seem like it, eavesdropping is probably the most serious part of beige boxing. You might get lucky and listen in on a really good call, well use your imagination.

Anyway, they key to beige boxing-- the one thing you must always remember is--

Nothing will end up on your phone bill! (hehehe.....) Be creative.

So far, you have made some killer prank calls, made a machine to use anyone's phone for free, and gotten free payphone calls. This document is for begginers only, and you are way past that. If you didn't understand something, read it over. But whatever you do, like I said before--don't get caught!!

You have accomplished a lot. But what you have done so far is "traditional" phreaking (boxing, pranking, etc.). In the next section we will cover newer types of phreaking. The point of the next section is not to teach new phreaking techniques (oh well), it is to teach you about "how shit works". If you're saying "dammit, i just finished all that and now thers more", take a break and read some more phreak literature.

"AT&T's Worst Enemy"
by Squiler

on January 15, 1990, the AT&T system crashed. it was down for about 9 hours. thousands of calls could not be completed. The crash was not due to a hacker, a phreaker, the system physically breaking, or anything else like that. the hard truth in fact was that the system was its own worst enemy.

the system was designed flawlessly. It was made up of thousands upon thousands of individual switches all part of one gigantic network. These switches did the same work that a human operator in say- the 60's would do. Except the switches were smaller, faster, and much more efficient. If one switch went down for any reason, instead of trying to fix itself it would just reset itself and it would go back up again. while the switch is down, its calls would be redirected to its neighboring switches. when the switch went back up, its neighboring switches would stop taking its calls, and take note that the switch that went down is back up. This might seem like a big process, but we're talking about computers here, and the whole process only took about 4-6 seconds. This sounds like a great idea, the people who designed must have thought of everything, right?. Wrong. Let us be clear on the fact that one switch is just one in a gigantic network, it can't do everything at once. Here's the clincher...the turning point....the real problem with the system. If a switch records that its neighboring switch just went back up, it cannot do many other things at the same time. So if the switch is hit with more calls than it can handle, (keep in mind its taking its calls, and its neighboring switch's calls) it will go down too. Ultimately setting off a chain reaction. And the more switches that go down, the more calls the other switches have to take, giving them a bigger chance of going down.

This is roughly what happened on January 15, 1990.

All it took was one switch to go down, which caused more and more to go down. And in the end, crashing the system. AT&T sure learned a lesson, no matter how great, how amazing, how flawless a new technology is, it will always have it's drawbacks, and there will always be something that can and will go wrong.

i got most of this info from the book, "The Hacker Crackdown", by Bruce Sterling. It's a cool book, you should read it.

You've probably heard of a device called scanner before. However you might not know what it is or what it does.

What is it?
Think of a scanner as a really advanced walkie-talkie.

A scanner is a machine that sends and receives transmissions, just like a walkie-talkie. A scanner is hand held, (well most of them are) thus easy to carry around, just like a walkie-talkie. Here's the clincher- A scanner is much more powerful than walkie-talkie. An average walkie-talkie (1) can only transmit and receive at a distance of up too and around 180 feet. Also walkie- talkies can only transmit at one frequency.

(1)-There are walkie-talkies you can get which will transmit and receive at a distance of up to and around 2 miles (you know, those funky lookin' Motorola ones?). In a way, these are scanners.

Scanners on the other hand, can transmit and receive on multiple frequencies. Plus they're not limited to 180 feet, they're range can go for miles.

Scanners can be thought of as hi-tech beige box. They can be used to tap phones. However they can't tap just any phones. Only cordless phones. And only analog cordless phones. 900mhz phones cannot be tapped.

Scanners are capable of tapping cordless phones because the sound does not go directly from the line to the receiver of a cordless phone. The deck where you hold the phone and where it is recharged is used as a medium between the line and the receiver. The scanner intercepts the signal being sent from the medium to the receiver. All you have to do is find the frequency that the cordless phone is on, and set your scanner to that frequency. This will require some trial and error, but it is well worth the effort.

There is a lot of fun you can have with a scanner. Like you can listen in on your neighbor while talking to his girlfriend. Find out her name, then call him back and say, "Don't ever touch [insert girl's name here] again!"

Or another time while he's on the phone with his girlfriend, you could come in with (remember, scanners can receive as well as transmit) "You lying, cheating, scumbag, bad excuse for a human being! You told me that you were a one-woman man! And now I hear you talking to this other bitch as if you're God's gift to women! Well, you can say good-bye to this relationship!" (Then stomp on the floor so it sounds like you're slamming down a phone)

But it doesn't end at cordless phones. There is much more you can with scanners. Anytime you want to mess with something, just find it's frequency and set the scanner to it. Here are a few ideas:

*Security Guards
Transmit a bomb threat to the guard's radio. Pretend to be a fellow Security guard gone bad. If he doesn't believe, you, say "Oh yea, well than how did I get on your radio?"

*Fast food drive-ins
Hide in the bushes until a car pulls up to the drive through. Listen in with you're scanner. As soon as the employee says, "May I take you're order", immediately start talking before the person in the car can. Act like a real asshole to the employee. Be creative. This also works in reverse. You can pretend to be the fast food joint employee and act like an ass to the person in the car.

Don't get too excited, you don't have your scanner yet. A hand-held scanner can go for 60-1000 bucks USD. You can do a search for scanners on the Internet, and you will find many companies that sell them. You can also get one from rat shack, but you'll have to order it by phone because stores rarely carry them. You're best bet is to get one at a pawnshop or at eBay, because you can get a good one for cheap.

Or if you're not into spending much cash, you can make you're own very easily. The downside of this is that it won't be too powerful. Also you won't be able to tune it. And you'll only be able to use it on cordless phones (I think). If you still want to make one, here are the directions:

-$8 USD (if you live outside the US, it could be sufficiently more)

-A screwdriver
-Electric tape

That's all?! Wow this has to be easy!

Directions 1. Go to rat shack and pick up a single walkie-talkie.
Its only 4 bucks USD.

2. Get the biggest antenna you can get. The biggest one is probably about 24", and should be more than $3 USD.

3. Unscrew the back of the walkie-talkie.

4. Now take out the original antenna (it's a piece of shit). Sell it to your little brother for 5 bucks and tell him that it can be used to contact aliens.

5. Put in the antenna you just bought from rat shack.

There, you have a homemade scanner.

[Cell Phones]
Being a phreaker, when you see a piece of cool technology, even if it is used in everyday life, you probably think about it more deeply than the average guy. Because once you know how something works, you know how to mess around with it, and use it for things that the average guy wouldn't. That's why you've probably been wondering how a cell phone works.

I bet you know who invented the telephone right? Alexander Graham Bell. Easy. He gets so much praise, and he deserves it, because he invented one of the most useful inventions in modern history. There is also another guy who invented something useful. Except this guy doesn't get as much praise as he deserves. His name is??, and he invented the cellular phone.

The reason he deserves so much praise is because he didn't just simply improve on Bell's idea, he completely reinvented it. You see, the cell phone system is totally different than the system of a regular phone.

A cellular phone is not a phone at all. By raw definition, it's radio. A really k-rad one, thought it's still a radio. In fact, the thing that it's most closely related too is a scanner or a walkie-talkie. Except a cell phone can transmit and receive over a much further distance than a regular scanner because it works with "cells". But we'll get to that after.

You know when you're playing "walkie-talkie" with you're little brother and he always screams at you because you're talking? Even though you are talking, except you're genius of a brother is holding down the "talk" button, so he can't receive and of your transmissions? This is because walkie- talkies only use one frequency, so you can only send OR receive at one time, not both.

A cell phone on the other hand uses two frequencies, one for transmitting, and one for receiving. So you can talk and hear at the same time. Remember that shitty walkie- talkie you got from rat shack for 4 bucks? That only has about 40 channels you can set the frequency too. A cell phone has around 1,664.

The FCC (::grunt::) standard (who the hell do they think they are?) for cell phone frequencies is from 824mhz to 894mhz (that's under the UHF-ultra high frequency category for all you newbies). Around a city there are jurisdictions for cell phone antenna towers called "cells". Each one uses a certain amount of frequencies. There are a few in each city, so that's why no matter where you are in the city, you're phone will get good reception. It's also why the antenna on the cell phone doesn't have to be so big. A cell phone will always be in range of an antenna tower.

Now that you know a little bit about the system, let's have some fun.

As you have seen in earlier sections, phreaking is taking a turn for the worst. Anytime a new technology for a communications product comes out, it is made to be phreak proof. There is not much you can do with phreaking in the area of cellular phones.

Cloning cellular phones is now almost impossible. And all that's left is scanning cellular phones. However you can't use a regular scanner that you learned about earlier. Why? Cellular phones are on an ultra high frequency (remember?). You need a device that picks up ultra high frequencies.

Remember when you went on that trip and everyone called you stupid for bringing a portable TV? Then you felt stupid because the TV sucked? Well watching programs is not the only thing that you can do with a portable TV.

There should be 2 settings on your portable TV, VhF and UhF. You want to set it to UhF. You want a high channel, somewhere between 80-85. You should now be able to pick up cellular phone conversations.

::phew:: Do you feel smarter? You've just learned a lot. I'm not going to end with a sincere goodbye, as this is in no way the last of my tutorials. For further reading, i suggest you Sharp-Hack.Com, for some of the best tutorials around. Besides mine, there is only one tutorial on phreaking. But I suggest you check it out anyway.

Brought to you by:

Thanks to
for providing this info.


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