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/freek'ing/ "phone phreak" 1. The art and science of cracking the telephone 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).

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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References in periodicals archive ?
(16) Chris Baraniuk, Whatever Happened to the Phone Phreaks?, The Atlantic (Feb.
A federal crackdown on phreaking in the early 1990s put an end to much of it, and phone systems today make it almost impossible to phreak the system and get away with it.
This text file, an extraordinarily turgid description of the bureaucratic management structure of BellSouth's 911 system, had been purloined as a trophy from a BellSouth computer by three Atlanta hackers and was widely circulated in the phone phreak community, mostly for purposes of ridicule, for some time before Neidorf "officially" published it.
Disco, funk and soul or to be more specific: Anita Ward - Ring My Bell; Phreak - Weekend; Chic - Forbidden Lover.
IT is important first of all to define the terms such as hacker, cracker, phreak, script kidddies, and cyberpunk because they are often used interchangeably.
Phreak Verne Troyer Mark Dave Sheridan Pushpak Brian George Pappy/Pippy Patrick Cranshaw Mark's Sister Ever Carradine Flipper Boy Geoffrey Arend Li'l Zip Bettlejuice Human Sasquatch Matthew McGrory Rubber Woman Bonnie Morgan Shlomo Jason Sklar Dawn Randy Sklar Gil Fabio Emcee Ping Wu Bus Stop Man Zach Galifianakis Cashier Boti Ann Bliss Bubble Boy" is an anarchic comedy fatally lacking a genuinely anarchic guiding sensibility.
Late in Orwell's Revenge, he stages a debate-to-the-death between the high-ranking party official O'Brien and a jailed phreak:
Other ways to illicitly obtain phone numbers include unscrupulous employees selling company codes for profit, a hacker or "phone phreak" using a personal computer to randomly dial access codes into the company's PBX system until valid codes are bund, or thieves searching through a company's trash in order to obtain carelessly discarded access code numbers.
Meanwhile, back in the Physical World, I continue to be haunted by the words of the first lawyer I called on behalf of Steve Jackson, Phiber Optik, and Acid Phreak back in the spring of 1990.
The name was composed from the words phreak and hack, which refer to telecommunications systems (phreaking) and computer systems (hacking).
It is also a world certain to fulfill the wildest fantasies of a 1970s phone "phreak." A massive computerized data-net blankets North America, an electronic super highway leading to every computer and every last bit of data on every citizen and corporation in the country.
On May 10, 1987, a hacker identified as Shadowhawk placed detailed information on how to attack AT&T Unix computers successfully on a computer bulletin board service (BBS) known as Phreak Klass-2600, in Lubbock, TX.