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TUCoPS :: Cyber Culture :: phreak.htm

What phreaking means to us



What Phreaking Means to Us What Phreaking Means to Us

By The Phone Phun Crew
http://www.ppchq.org

"Phreaking is a dead art."  You have no idea how many times I have heard this statement recently. Is phreaking dead?  I'd say no.  Ripping off the telephone company however is becoming more and more harder to accomplish.  But is that phreaking?  Well after having a conversation with fellow Phone Phun Crew member, Nikoz, we decided to ask people what phreaking meant to them, since there really has never been a crystal clear definition.  Below I think you have some very good opinions of what phreaking is and what phreaking isn't.  If you take these opinions as facts then I think you will agree that phreaking is in fact NOT dead nor will it ever die.

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Over the years exploring telecommunications systems, I think I have finally discovered what phreaking is and what phreaking isn't. Phreaking is exploring the same systems that have become a part of the average citizens' everyday life. Phreaking is not modifying a tone dialer and redboxing free calls. Phreaking is the sharing of information with others who are also interested in the telecommunications system. Phreaking is not flaming a "newbie" who wants to know a little more and annoys you with his questions. Phreaking is educating those who may not know everything there is to know. Phreaking is not blueboxing China ccitt5 lines. Phreaking is learning how and why things such as blueboxing work.  Over the years, the phreaking scene has turned into nothing more than petty theft on some individual's part to feed their need for "free calls."  No folks, that isn't what it is all about.  What makes telcommunications work, and why does it work this way?  When people quit asking these questions, then the meaning behind phreaking has truly died.

-dark fairytale Co-Founder of PPC

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Let's start simple. First off, the word "phreak" is short for "phone phreak." A phone phreak is a person who is interested, and wants to learn as much as they can about the telephone network.
They are much like hackers except for the fact that their interest lies mainly in telephones. But why you may ask? What makes phones so interesting to some of us? The answer is simple. We want answers. We want understanding. We want to know what happens from one telephone to the next. We want to know what goes on in the space between, the space we cannot physically see.
 Phreaking is the act of using our knowledge to obtain more knowledge. Phreaking is about answering your own questions. Phreaking is a quest, a quest through a system that not too many people really understand. Phreaking is not an act of just obtaining free calls. Everyone will admit that free phone service is nice, but true phreaks would rather understand the system instead of just ripping it off.
 We find these different systems interesting because many of them are kept as a secret. Companies and employees do not want us to understand what is going on, what they are doing, how they are doing it, and why they are doing it. It's curiousity that strives us onward. From curiousity comes knowledge and understanding.
 However, phreaking has changed here recently. Most people do not understand what phreaking is all about, and most simply do not care. Phreaks must help each other. We must educate one another on new discoveries and issues. We must not discourage the "newbies," but instead try to make them understand what they are actually getting into, and to help them realize if this is what they really are looking for or not. Only through these acts will phreaking continue to propser. Only through these acts can we call ourselves Phreaks.

-nikoz Member of PPC

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phreaking to me is a form of self expression and freedom. it's not about taking something that doesn't belong to me. it is the feeling that i get when i know i did something that not a lot of people can do. not because they're stupid and don't think they way that phreaks do. I think it is a openminded  way of thinking that not all people can understand or believe. All in all i think phreaks are people who think of new and better ways of doing whatever task is at hand. That is what a true phreak is to me.

-demonic furbie Affiliate Member of PPC

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I would have to say that phreaking is "hacking" the telephone system.  By this I do not mean
making a free call and thinking your some kind of super-phreak.  I believe that blueboxing
is phreaking, but not just because some kid gives you seize tones and timings and you make
a free call, but more or less the process of learning about the analog signalling system
that you're going to box.  What type of signalling system is it? (C5, R1, R2, etc..),
Testing the clear-forward and seize tones by your self.  And once you do seize the line, what
next?  Sure, a free call to your friend could be one thing, but just to see that you did
in fact seize the line and that you can outdial, after that I think you should try more things
like looking for test numbers, different ways of dialing, etc.. it's all quite fascinating.
But blueboxing just to make repeated free calls or something like that, I don't consider
phreaking, that's just straight up fraud. Same goes for redboxing, if your a newbie phreak,
your not expected to know everything about the ACTS payphone system, however just because
you play some tones in a phone doesn't make you a phreak, you should at least want to learn
about the system and know what your doing and why it works.  Phreaking is learning about the
phone system, finding exploits and tricks and learning why and how these things work, but
not just the exploits, but finding out how it all works, it's all a big learning experience, and
most of all I think the phreak or soon-to-be-phreak should try to learn as much as he can about
the signalling system, payphone system, telephone lines, pbx, voicemail, cellular telephony,
whatever field it is he or she is interested by reading up on it first, trying things on
his own, and then asking questions.  It's the trying on your own and making your own
discoveries while doing it that's the real phreaking, and fun i might add.  IRC should
be used to share your discoveries and ask questions about maybe something your just not
quite sure of, but dont ask if you haven't even bothered searching the web or library, or
tried things on your own first.

-lucky225 Affiliate Member of PPC

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To define "phreaking" would be attempting to do the impossible. The definition is an opinion, not a fact. Each person will have their own outlook. To me, "phreaking" is the exploitation of the knowledge you have gained researching the various branches of telecommunications networks. This is why I seldom refer to myself as a "phreak," I can barely remember the last time I deliberately tried to rip off my carrier.
 All of us started out as newbies, whether it be wandering around aimlessly on BBS's, doing research for something else, wanting to make free calls and that sort of thing, or simple interest in telecommunications systems. For me, it was the third instance. I started out feeling "cool" because I could defeat the long arm of the law, even if it was for $3.00 per call, and have some fun while doing it. I became so involved that I began to realize there was more to telecom, and electronics in general, than what I was doing. There were so many other things involved in, and relating to, telecommunications. Computers, switching, electronics, networking... I began to divulge into them all. It made me realize how immature and ignorant I was just a few months beforehand.
 It's becoming harder and harder every day to "phreak" as our forefathers did, but this can force us to be nothing but better. It is easier for a large company with excess funding to defend from a small group than to be "up against" one of these companies. That is why we must feed our undying thirst for knowledge in whatever form we can, which is becoming more readily provided.
 The "underground" is by far not hard to find. Hundreds of thousands of text files are posted, written, and read every day. And if you don't feel like sitting in front of a terminal all day, you can stop by your local Barnes & Noble and pick up a few IT or telecom books.
 So it's really not necessary to constantly screw over your local carrier just to gain knowledge. Go out and read a little. Switching and signalling information is provided by the manufacturers and implementers of the systems. It's so easy to gain massive amounts of knowledge without dialing one digit.

If you knowingly and thoroughly decline the preceding 2 paragraphs, you belong.

-Janus Co-Founder of PPC

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Well let me start by saying I dont like being called a "phreak" because I feel the title has been tainted by people and groups out there that dont really know what they are doing. I guess I could list people but then i would be just as bad as them. As for the question "what does phreaking mean to me", well i suppose i would have to say it's what's behind the telecommunication systems that i like the most. For instance, studying a system to see how it works, who built it, for what reason, what type of system it replaced and so on. I think when people read this they will see where im going with things.

-^CircuiT^ Member of PPC

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What is the world without chaos? Without fighting there would be no problem solving. Without problem solving there would be no accomplishments. Without any accomplishments there would be no feeling of achievement. Without the feeling of achievement there would be no goals. Without any goals there would be no sense of stature. Without a sense of stature there is no care in the world. With no care in the world, there would be no society. So, to me, Phreaking IS the chaos of it's own part of the world -- the Telecommunication Industry. Without people like us, there would be no advancement in telecommunications.

-Comic_1 Co-Founder of PPC

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So there you have it. In a world where the majority of people thought phreaking was dead, people are finally awoken to what I and many others believe is the truth. Phreaking is not ripping someone off.  Phreaking is an explorative journey through the inner-workings of vast telecommunications systems. So when and if you're ready to become a phreak, hold onto your seat because you have an exciting ride ahead.

-dark fairytale

Shoutz: herf, actinide, gigabyte, ray haque, wargod, gizzy, khecka, vax, overflow, redxer, sintaks, liquid, and whoever else i may have forgotten, i'm sorry, but greetz to you all.

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