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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.
References in periodicals archive ?
Having developed along with modern technology and drawing upon the methodology and discoveries generated by phreakers, a modern day "more serious twist on [that] old crime" has manifested itself in the practice of swatting.
Uno de los phreakers mas famosos en los anos 70 fue John Draper, estudiante de Ingenieria Electronica y mejor conocido como Captain Crunch.
Ambos phreakers no solo manipulaban los interruptores, sino tambien a los trabajadores de las companias telefonicas, a quienes llamaban haciendose pasar por empleados de las mismas para obtener claves de acceso; a esta habilidad se le conoce como ingenieria social.
In 1971, Esquire ran an article about Engressia, Draper and the whole phreaker scene.
In an ironic twist that the company's ex phreaker CEO must surely appreciate on some level, iPhone hacker George Hotz has since been given a Nissan 350Z and three more iPhones as payment for the one he modified.
Titulo: Cybershock: Surviving Hackers, Phreakers, Identity Thieves, Internet Terrorist and Wesapons of Mass Disruption.
Kodak's provider will absorb costs incurred by phreakers if the problem is identified within a reasonable time (a month or two), but it's more likely to be Kodak's responsibility if it takes, say, six months.
However, preliminary inroads have already been made in a study of hackers and phreakers (Meyer 1989).
Phone Pirates -- Long Distance Theft: What It Is, How It Happens, and How to Protect Your Phone Bills From Hackers, Phone Phreakers and Organized Crime by lan Angus and Gerry Blackwell.