Archive for December 15th, 2015

December 15, 2015

Phreaking

Capn Crunch

2600

Phreaking is a slang term coined to describe the activity of hobbyists who study, experiment with, or explore, telecommunication systems, such as equipment and systems connected to public telephone networks. ‘Phreak,’ ‘phreaker,’ or ‘phone phreak’ are names used for and by individuals who participate in phreaking. The term first referred to groups who had reverse engineered the system of tones used to route long-distance calls. By re-creating these tones, phreaks could switch calls from the phone handset, allowing free calls to be made around the world.

Electronic tone generators known as ‘blue boxes’ became a staple of the phreaker community, including future Apple Inc. cofounders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. The blue box era came to an end with the ever increasing use of computerized phone systems, which sent dialling information on a separate, inaccessible channel. By the 1980s, much of the system in the US and Western Europe had been converted. Phreaking has since become closely linked with computer hacking.

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