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TUCoPS :: Phreaking General Information :: cocots40.txt

COCOTS: uses for privately operated public telephones




                      R e n e g a d e   L e g i o n
                    T e c h n i c a l   R e p o r t s


 

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Report Number: 4.0
 
COCOTS: Uses for privatly operated public telephones. How to make free calls
        use their maintenance features, and plans for a tone dialer to fool
        COCOT security systems.
 
Compiled : 03/25/91
Author   : Count Zero
System   : COCOT Payphones
Uses     : Free calling to most of the world
 
 
 
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   So you're walking down the street and you see a payphone gotta make an
important call, so you dig into your pocket to get a dime picking up the
handset, you suddenly notice that the payphone wants a QUARTER for a local
call! What the hell, and WHERE did this synthesized voice come from?
 
  Let's make this phile short and to the point a COCOT is an acronym for
Customer Owned Coin Operated Telefone in other words, a COCOT is a fone
OWNED or RENTED by a PAYING CUSTOMER (most likely, a hotel or donut shop) a
COCOT is NOT a normal payfone the Telco doesn't own it, and the actual fone
line is usually a normal customer loop (unlike payfones, where the fone line
is a "special" payfone loop, allowing the use of "coin tones" to indicate
money dropped in more on this later) SO!..A COCOT may LOOK and SMELL like
a telco payphone, but it is NOT.
 
* Why do COCOTs exist?
 
  Simple $$$$$$$! A customer owned payfone is money in the bank! You pay
MORE for local calls and long distance is typically handled by sleazy
carriers that offer bad/EXPENSIVE service the owner/renter of the COCOT opens
the coinbox and keeps the money him/herself! Also, a particularly SLEAZY
quality of a COCOT is the fact that it DOES NOT RECIEVE INCOMING CALLS this,
of course, is because of $$ if people are calling IN to a COCOT, the COCOT
is not making money and businesses always want to make as much $$ as
possible...even if it hurts the consumer (think about it..it REALLY sucks
calling someone at home from a COCOT, then not be able to have him/her call
you back to save $$ "Guess I'll have to keep feeding the COCOT quarters!")
 
* Where is a good place to look for COCOTs?
 
  Outside Dunkin Donut shops, restaurants, clubs, bars, and outside/inside
hotels "convenient" locations
 
 
*  How do I figure out if I have found a COCOT?
 
  Simple a COCOT will have NO TELCO LOGOS on it no New England Telephone
symbols it may look just like a Telco fone chrome, with blue stickers and
all that ALSO a COCOT typically charges MORE for a local call than a regular
Telco payfone (in Massachusetts, local calls are a dime, in places like NYC,
they are 25 cents.) a COCOT will most often have a synthesized voice that
asks you to "please deposit 25 cents" or whatever ALSO some FaNcY COCOTS
will not look like payfones at all some in hotels have weird LCD displays
and look totally different but the ALWAYS charge you more than a normal
payphone.
 
*  OK, I found this weird payphone in Boston that wants a quarter, and this
 synthesized voice is harassing me when does the phun begin?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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  Soon..first of all, you must understand that the COCOT is a mimic.
Essentially, it wants you to think that it is just a plain ol' payfone pick
up the handset..hear that dialtone? hah! that dialtone is fake, synthesized
by the innards of the COCOT you are at the mercy of the COCOT. Remember
a COCOT runs off of a normal customer loop so unlike a Telco payphone where
you must deposit money to generate coin tones that are read by the CO, the
security of a COCOT depends solely on the COCOT fone itself its as if you
took your own fone and put a sign on it saying "Please put 10 cents in this
jar for every call you make." COCOTS are not naiive they won't let you near
the unrestricted dialtone until you fork over the cash-ola heh heh. Or so
they THINK!
 
  See, the Achilles heel of the COCOT is the FACT that ALL PAYFONES MUST LET
YOU MAKE 1-800 CALLS FOR FREE! It's not just a fact, it's the LAW so, now
pick up the handset again and place a 1-800 call any 1-800 number will do.
When they answer at the other end, just sit there do nothing ignore them.
wait for them to hang up the fone here's an example.
 
<DIAL 1-800-LOAN-YES>
 
<Ring, Ring>.....<click> "Hello, you wanna buy some money? Hello? HELLO?!"
 
<CLICK>
 
<You will now hear some static and probably a strange "waffling" noise, like
  chh,chh,chh,chh,chh>
 
<CLICK>......DIALTONE!
 
 NOW!.what have we got here? a dialtone? yes, you guessed it, the dialtone
you now hear is the UNRESTRICED dialtone of the COCOT's customer loop.
 
* So what?..So I got an "unrestricted dialtone"...big deal?
 
  Meathead! with an UNRESTRICTED dialtone, all you need to do is place a call
via DTMF tones (the tones a touch-tone keypad generates) now, try dialing a
number with the COCOTs keypad WHOA! waitasec, no sound! this is a typical
lame attempt at protection by the COCOT. Just whip out your Radio Shack
pocket tone dialer, and try calling a number ANY number place it just as
if you were calling from a home phone call a 1-900 sex line call Guam you
are FREE and the COCOTs customer loop is being billed!
 
 
***NOTE: some COCOTS are more sophisticated at protecting themselves..some
will RESET when they hear the dialtone to get around this, make a loud
hissing sound with your mouth into the mouthpiece after the 1-800 number hangs
up also, get your tone dialer ready near the mouthpiece when u hear the
dialtone, quickly dial the first digit of your number to call if you hiss
loudly enough, you MAY be able to mask the sound of the dialtone and prevent
the COCOT from resetting and once you dial the first digit of the number
you are calling, the dialtone will disappear (naturally) ok, you can stop
hissing like an idiot now finish dialing your PHREE fone call.
 
  Also, some COCOTs actually disable the handset after a call hangs up
(in other words, you can't send DTMF tones thru the mouthpiece) oh well,
better luck next time.
 
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HOWEVER MOST of the COCOTs I have run across ONLY disable the DTMF keypad..
so all you need is a pocket dialer to circumvent this!
 
OTHER THINGS TO KNOW: Sure, you can't call a COCOT, but it DOES have a number
to find out the COCOT's number, call 1-800-933-3258..this automated ANI
service will tell you the number you're dialing from now, try calling the
COCOT from another fone you will hear one of 2 things:
 
                 1) synthesized voice "Thank you"...CLICK..<hang up>
                 2) weird carrier
 
A COCOT's number is ONLY used by the company that BUILT the COCOT by calling
up a COCOT, a tech. can monitor its functioning, etc in case (1), you must
enter a 3 or 4 digit password and then you'll get into a voice menu driven
program that'll let you do "maintenance" stuff with the COCOT in case (2),
you are hooked to the COCOT's 300 bps modem (YES, a MODEM in a PAYFONE)..
likewise, if you can figure out the communication settings, you'll be into the
COCOT's maintenance routines.
 
Personally, I haven't had much luck (or patience) with calling up and hacking
COCOT maintenance functions. I just like making free fone calls from 'em!
 
 
COCOT ETIQUETTE:
 Now, remember, you are making free fone calls but SOMEONE has to pay for
'em...and that is the OWNER the COCOT's customer loop is billed the cost of
the calls, and if the OWNER sees a big difference in the profits made on the
COCOT (profit=coins from COCOT - bill from Telco for customer loop)..they'll
know SOMETHING is up so moral is DON'T ABUSE THEM! don't call a 1-900
number and stay on the line for 12 hours! If a COCOT is abused SEVERLY, an
owner will eventually LOSE money on the damn thing!, and that means BYE BYE
COCOT also, remember that a RECORD of ALL LONG DISTANCE calls is made to the
COCOT's customer loop..and COCOT companies will sometimes investigate "billing
discrepencies" so don't call anyone you personally know unless you are
sure they are "cool".
 
<RING RING> "Hello?"
 
       "Hello...this is Cointel, Inc....we'd like to ask you a few
        questions about a call you received from Boston on 2/12/91.
        Could you tell us the name and address of the person who
        placed the call?"
 
    COOL dude -> "What?...I don't remember...go to hell! <SLAM>"
    MEATHEAD -> "Uh, sure, his name is John Smith...you want his address too?"
 
Get the picture? Good...
 
COCOTs are a great resource if we use them wisely like our environment, we
gotta be careful not to plunder them make a few long distance calls and
then leave that particular COCOT alone for awhile chances are, your bills
will be "absorbed" by the profit margin of the owner and probably ignored
but the smaller the owner's profit margin gets,the more likely suspicions will
be aroused 'nuff said!
 
 
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I have found COCOTs EVERYWHERE some of my personal favorites are on Route 1
North of Boston check out the Dunkin Donut shops and the Burger King also,
in front of the Rat in Kenmore look around they are lurking everywhere.
(BUT..COCOT technology is relatively new..don't expect them EVERYWHERE..I know
many towns that have NONE..check out big cities....)  Here are some numbers of
COCOTs:
                 Kenmore Square,Boston,MA The Rat
                     617/247-8195
                     617/247-7913
                     617/247-8208
                     617/247-9437
 
  Random ones: 617/720-4430   617/233-9872
 
Here are some companies that deal with COCOTs...try out your social
engineering skill on them:
 
              Cointel, Inc.               Int'l Telecharge, Inc.
            130 Broadway St.               P.O. Box 50579
            Somerville, MA                 Dallas, TX
                       02145            1800/999-5152
             1800/322-7741
 
 
As for a Tone Dialer, don't leave home without one!...a true phreak always has
a DTMF tone dialer at hand..along with a red box!....My personal favorite is
the COMBO-BOX (red box plus DTMF) take a Radio Shack 33-memory Pocket Dialer..
open up the back...remove the little 3.579 MHz crystal (looks like a metal
cylinder..unsolder it)...solder on a couple of thin, insulated wires where the
crystal was attached...thread the wires thru one of the "vents" in the back of
the tone dialer....get ahold of a 6.5536 MHz crystal (available thru Fry's
Electronics, 89 cents a piece, phone number 415/770-3763)..go out and get some
quick drying epoxy and a Radio Shack mini Toggle Switch, DPDT, cat. no 275-626
 
Close the tone dialer, with the two wires sticking out one of the back vents..
screw it up tight...now, attact the crystals and wires to the switch like this
with solder:
                              I^^^^^I
                              I      xx  <3.579 crystal>small one
                              I     I
 toggle switch    ->   oooooo X      xxxxs <two wires>
                              I     I
                              I      xx  <6.5536 crystal>big one
                              I     I
                               ^^^^^^
 
Each "xx" prong in the diagram is actually TWO prongs....hook up the two leads
from the crystals to separate prongs (same with the wires).
 
Now, epoxy this gizmo to the side of the tone dialer use ALOT of epoxy, as you
must make the switch/crystals essentially EMBEDDED in epoxy resin. like this:
 
 
 
 
 
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Front View ->       ----------------------
                    I                    I T <-toggle switch
                    I  oo    oo     oo   I---
                    I                    I  |
                    I                    I---
                    I   1    2     3     I B s <-two crystals(b=big,s=small)
                    I                    I  |     in epoxy "blob"
                    I   4    5     6     I _
                    I                    I
                    I   7    8     9     I  ^two wires running to back of unit
                    I                    I
                    I   *    0     #     I
                    I                    I
                    ----------------------
 
                    ----------------------
Back View ->        I                    I
                 T  I  o      ----   o-----------------------vent (1 of 4)
                --- I    /          \    I
               |    I   |         -----------------speaker
                --- I   |            |   I
                s B I   |            |   I
 2 wires    ->   \-----o      ----   o   I
 running into       I                    I
 vent               I                    I
                    I                    I
                    I                    I
                    I                    I
                    ----------------------
 
Make sure the epoxy is really gobbed on there..you want to be certaint the
switch and crystals are firmly attached and secure in a matrix of epoxy (it
doesn't conduct electricity, so don't worry about shorting out the connections
to the toggle switch)...just don't gum up the action of the switch!
 
Basically, you've altered the device so you can select between 2 crystals to
generate the timing for the microprocessor in the tone dialer...
 
Now turn on the tone dialer NOW, you can easily switch between the 2 crystal
types the small crystal will generate ordinary DTMF tones but, by simply
flicking the switch, you generate HIGHER tones now, using the memory function
of the tone dialer, save 5 "*" in the P1 location, now dial the P1 location
using the BIG crystal, sure sounds like the tones for a QUARTER, doesn't it!
 
Carry this around with you always will come in handy with both Telco payphones
AND COCOTs! no Phreak should be without one!
 
Anyway, that about wraps it up for me references for this article include
Noah Clayton's EXCELLENT article on COCOTs in 2600 Magazine, Autumn 1990..
also, The Plague's article on Tone Dialer conversion to Red Box, 2600
Magazine, Summer 1990 (Which inspired me to create the COMBO-BOX (red box PLUS
DTMF dialer)...I strongly urge people to subscribe to 2600 Magazine...call
their office line for more details ->516/751-2600...
Remember..you can READ all you want, but if you don't get your ASS out
there and try stuff out for yourself, you are nothing but a POSER!
 
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Enough said...oh, also, I heard that SOME COCOTs have handsets in them
that can be accessed..in other words, you call the COCOT and if you hit
"0" or something else, the earpiece of the handset is activated and you can
listen in on what's goin on around the COCOT...I dunno...never worked for me,
but try these 2 "suspected" numbers...212/268-7538, -6129..try hitting "0" and
listen for any sounds...I could be wrong, I could be right..I could be black,
I could be white....
 
That's all folks remember, the purpose of this phile is to ENLIGHTEN, and I
in no way condone or encourage illegal activities...so don't blame me for
ANY MESS you get into this phile offered strictly as INFORMATIONAL ONLY!  I
am in no way responsible for your ass!
Also, I am not into wanton destruction, vandalism, or fraud..seek the truth,
and leave nothing but footsteps.
 
Remember...SHARE THE WEALTH...INFORMATION IS POWER...SHARE IT!
 
And drink massive amounts of Jolt cola...trust me, it's good for you.
 
 
Keep the faith, and never stop searching for new frontiers....
 
                    ..................................
 
                       ..oooOO Count Zero OOooo..
 
                    ..................................
 
 
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EOF
 

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