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TUCoPS :: Phreaking General Information :: phreakdf.txt

A definition of phreaking - those of you who wannabe should read this first





:phreaking: /freek'ing/ [from `phone phreak'] n. 1. The art and 
   science of cracking the phone network (so as, for example, to make 
   free long-distance calls).  2. By extension, security-cracking in 
   any other context (especially, but not exclusively, on 
   communications networks) (see {cracking}). 
 
   At one time phreaking was a semi-respectable activity among 
   hackers; there was a gentleman's agreement that phreaking as an 
   intellectual game and a form of exploration was OK, but serious 
   theft of services was taboo.  There was significant crossover 
   between the hacker community and the hard-core phone phreaks who 
   ran semi-underground networks of their own through such media as 
   the legendary `TAP Newsletter'.  This ethos began to break 
   down in the mid-1980s as wider dissemination of the techniques put 
   them in the hands of less responsible phreaks.  Around the same 
   time, changes in the phone network made old-style technical 
   ingenuity less effective as a way of hacking it, so phreaking came 
   to depend more on overtly criminal acts such as stealing phone-card 
   numbers.  The crimes and punishments of gangs like the `414 group' 
   turned that game very ugly.  A few old-time hackers still phreak 
   casually just to keep their hand in, but most these days have 
   hardly even heard of `blue boxes' or any of the other 
   paraphernalia of the great phreaks of yore. 
 



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