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Stuff that's missing in current version[edit]

The article lacks context, in that it doesn't mention that long-distance phone calls used to be darned expensive! In the 1960s a 10-minute direct dial transcontinental phone call, carried by the AT&T monopoly, would cost $20 in 1960s dollars, or in gold terms, half an ounce of gold. The history of phreaking as mentioned in the article doesn't start until after MCI began competing with AT&T Long Lines for long distance service. The article also fails to mention the former numbering system for AT&T telephone credit cards, which consisted of a seven digit phone number, a three digit number corresponding to your calling area (NY was "021") and then a letter which differed according to the last digit of the phone number. The letter codes were widely shared, for example in 1960s 'underground' newspapers, and phreaks would then bill the calls to bogus AT&T credit card numbers. Phreaking, or more properly its subset toll fraud, resulted from 1) the high cost of calls; and 2) public hatred of the Bell monopoly. Another subset of phreaking was the practice of installing unauthorized telephone extensions! Until about 1975 phones were manufactured by AT&T subsidiary Western Electric and were always rented, never sold. If you wanted a second telephone in your home, you had to pay for its installation, as well as several dollars a month for its rental! 1975 was also about the time the RJ-11 modular phone jack was invented -- prior to that telephones were 'installed' by permanently attaching them to the junction box with wires that were screwed into a terminal block. Mbstone (talk) 09:01, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

This article should have a reference to the new book by Phil Lapsley, Exploding the Phone, which covers the early history of phone phreaking, circa 1958-1975. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:19, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

Glaring error[edit]

In approximately 1957, a blind seven-year old named Joe Engressia, who as an adult changed his name to "Joybubbles", skilled with perfect pitch, discovered that whistling the fourth E above middle C (a frequency of 2600 Hz) would stop a dialed phone recording. Engressia had stumbled on the tone that would cause a trunk to reset itself, though the eight-year-old didn't realise this at first.

So which was he; seven or eight? The Lilac Pilgrim (talk) 21:14, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

Origin of Name?[edit]

Not an expert in the field, by any means, but couldn't "phreaking" be a play on "Tweeking"? Not the bad kind of "tweeking" (meth high), like how you "tweek" your radio or "tweek" a windows operating system. Just a thought. --Ιουστινιανός 22:05, 27 July 2007 (UTC)

who the hell is insane_phreak? I say get rid of him

Hello All

I'm in the process of tidying up this article as requested - if I have made any glaring errors, please let me know (as I have no previous knowledge on Phreaking). Have done one half tonight - the rest tomorrow (time allowing!).

~ Leftblank 23.30, Wednesday 18th October

For those of you that remember Scavenger's Dialer, Scavenger passed away sadly in a car accident on 6 Feb 2002. Afekz 16:14, 6 October 2005 (UTC)

The end of MF? Come on, that doesn't really fit here. I <3 you Lucky but this is ridiculous!

I thought it was a very good addition to the article

I just read in this article about how you can dial a number by rapidly taping the 'hang-up hook'. So I picked a simple phone number (411), and tried. Freaking cool, it worked! You never know what you'll learn from reading Wikipedia! ike9898 02:21, 23 Jan 2004 (UTC)

You're welcome -- although my discussion of this dialing method has vanished from the article. Putting it back in would help explain how the Cap'n Crunch 2600 Hz whistle worked in practice -- it worked the same way as tapping on the switch hook, for example 3 tones in rapid succession would dial a 3, or 10 tones, a zero. I recently taught my kids how to dial a phone using the switch hook (using an old Western Electric phone), and they were very impressed -- except when my 10-YO daughter tried it, she didn't hit the switchhook quite rapidly or evenly enough -- it takes practice -- and we instantly got a return telephone call from the local police department, accusing us of dialing 911 and hanging up, and threatening to break down our door to see if there were any domestic violence victims inside who were being prevented from dialing 911!! What a crazy world this has become. Google 'switch hook dialing.' Mbstone (talk) 09:01, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

Possibly apocrypha, but I always remember hearing that blind kids made up a large part of the "cutting edge" of phreaking. Anyone ever remember hearing similar? (First spotted it in the Esquire article linked to from the 'blue box' article, a few years ago...Then heard rumors.)

On one hand, it makes some sense; Schools for the blind were (and are) notoriously constricting places, and prior to mainstreaming, the vast majority of blind kids were sent to them. As one may expect, when you essentially put a bunch of preteen kids into a cage, they begin getting creative.

On the other almost sounds too good (for me) to be true...<grumble>

-Penta 00:44, 22 Mar 2004 (UTC)

It is essentially true but the field was not exclusive to them. A lot of them were bad at it, like a lot of seeing people were good at it. Now, it is not a question of being good or bad but diligent. Falcon 02:52, Mar 22, 2004 (UTC)

It's almost completely true actually. A gentleman by the name of Mark Bernay (an alias actually) taught the blind kids mentioned in that Esquire article about phreaking. Mark had learned from someone he bumped into on a loop randomly. He never met this person, but what he told him worked. These blind kids proceeded to teach the well known Cap'n Crunch all about what they had learned, and the rest is history. sam 07:10, Jun 16, 2004 (UTC)

I question the edit made by 202.7.x.x. If anyone agrees, please revert. Falcon 16:29, 16 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I don't see the point in removing the stuff about TAP. That's factually accurate as far as I know. sam 05:41, Jul 19, 2004 (UTC)
Anything else, or can the edit be reverted? Falcon 17:47, 19 Jul 2004 (UTC)
After reading closely, I'd say revert. That seems to be a generally accepted aspect of phreaking history. 202.7.x.x can always add to this discussion if she/he thinks we're wrong. sam 02:00, Jul 20, 2004 (UTC)
 :( I wish people would sign their names so we can be angry at them more accurately :P. It's factually accurate, I can add additional sources if required. --Othtim (talk) 02:35, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

Joe Engressia is the FIRST Phreaking[edit]

Where is he? He was the first!!!

I agree - he has been mentioned of course as the blind whistler with perfect pitch which reports Draper then first used the whistle and Woz says the same thing basically, along with bio library on Draper. A link to the History of Phone Phreaking is a required!!! along with Captain Crunch's page already listed. =) thanks

Huge Update[edit]

I greatly updated this article, and feel I helped it out tremendously. I re-named the Origins of Phreaking to History of Phreaking, because I felt it was more informative. Sorry to whoever wrote the Origins, Crossbar, and Modern Day Phreaking sections but I basically gutted and re-wrote those sections completely because they were vague, uninformative, and in some cases just plain wrong. No offense. I included a link to the crossbar article in it's involvement for this article, but a lengthy description of crossbar is really not neccessary. I added a lot about the interrelation between computer hacking and phreaking, and also refined the definition quite a bit. If you notice any grammatical errors, feel free to fix. I'd like to see future development of this page, including examples of the spread of phreaking from the US to other countries (UK, Australia?). I feel brevity is optimal compared to choppiness at this point. I don't know how to do that though, so if somebody could do that for me, it'd be appreciated. Also can somebody fix the section "Non-English Wikipedia entries on phreaking." The links aren't displaying properly. I'd love to hear your comments and thoughts on the revision, and any ideas for the future of this article.

--BriskWiki 10:57, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)

BriskAttivo is love. Thanks Brisk, the article rules now.
And I thought this name would be semi-anonymous. :-)
--BriskWiki 13:34, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)

"nee" (English word) to "née" (French feminine form)[edit]

To Radman1: Please look up "nee" and "née" here in the Wikipedia before you change things again. "Nee" (which I used) is an English word referring to a former (or birth) name. You changed it to "née" which is French, not English, and is the feminine form anyway. Engressia is male. When I reverted your edit, you should have checked your facts before changing it again. I see that Fubar Obfusco has just removed the word entirely rather than watch us have an edit war, but it clearly belongs there, as Joybubbles isn't an alias. It's his actual new name. Please respond here or just put "nee" (English word) back in. I'll wait a few days to hear from you.

Interesting. The edit was meant to bypass the redirect, not a revert war -- it's now linked as nee, hope this works well for everyone. —RaD Man (talk) 14:31, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Néeither word is néeded héere. Using the Fréench is an afféectation, and an incorréect one if you use the féeminine. ( would be correct, but snooty.) Making up a word "nee" and claiming it to be an Éenglish géender-néeutral word is just silly.
Moreover, the implication of using (or any derivative form) is that the name thus marked is a birth name as opposed to a later legal name. (The traditional form refers to a woman's maiden name as opposed to her married name.) Internet handles and noms de crime need not apply.
Besides, the sentence reads better without it. --FOo 14:46, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Agreed. Néever again! —RaD Man (talk) 14:49, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Fubar Obfusco explained exactly why it should say "nee," but since he didn't read Engressia's article, he thought he was explaining why we don't need it. We need the "nee" here because this individual was born as "Joe Engressia" and legally changed his name to "Joybubbles." It's not a "handle" or "nom de crime"--it's a legal name and we're showing that "Joe Engressia" was his birth name, which is precisely what "nee" is for. Gary D Robson 17:35, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC)
You misunderstand me. "Nee" is an absurd made-up word. Use the perfectly good English word born: "Joybubbles (born Joseph Engressia)". --FOo 6 July 2005 03:07 (UTC)
"Nee" is a perfectly good English word. Pick up a dictionary, read a newspaper, or (ahem) check out Wikipedia. Née and né are French words, but nee has been in common English use for a long time. Gary D Robson 6 July 2005 22:09 (UTC)

Both "nee" and "née" are perfectly acceptable in English as 19th century borrowings from the French, however they refer exclusively to women who have had their name changed by marriage. "Nee" is simply an anglicised version of "née" and therefore both are necessarily feminine; the term only refers to name change due to marriage. If "nee" is an absurd made-up word, then so is any word of non-Anglo-Saxon origin that is in current use, language develops and changes, and dictionaries reflect that with revisions--XxBartolínxx 23:11, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

Major Overhaul: Part Deux[edit]

There were some MAJOR factual errors that I fixed. Strom Carlson and I are going to try and beef up this article a bit and correct the mistakes. Black Ratchet 17:07, 21 July 2005 (UTC)

Yay for Strom and BR! I love you both!

Captain Crunch[edit]

John Draper aka Captain Crunch is hardly mentioned in this article and when he is (about 2/3's of the way down) it is with NO context at all. Maybe some of the info. about him from his page should be moved here to give context to why he is an important figure in the phreaking world.

Freak vs. FREQuency[edit]

I changed the comment about FREQuency being a "more plausible" origin for the term "phreak". That's not really very plausible, but I did leave it in as an alternate explanation. I was an active phone phreak and knew many other phone phreaks, and the term "phreak" was simply a cute way to spell "freak". We were a bunch of freaks, freaking around with the phone system. That's where "phreak" came from, not FREQuency. For example, the black box, loopback numbers, and social engineering were all part of phone phreaking even though they had nothing to do with audio frequencies. Indeed, one could be a phone phreak and never deal with audio frequencies at all.

Michael Geary 08:36, 27 July 2005 (UTC)

It's hard to describe how it was in the 1960s. Behavior that today would be considered normal, or protected, was at best frowned upon and at worst felonious. Freaks were people (men) who wore their hair long -- most Americans viewed that as offensive! See, e.g. 'Almost Cut My Hair', the song by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

Mbstone (talk) 09:01, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

Mbstone (talk) 09:01, 6 April 2010 (UTC)


In the late 1990s phreaking and computer hacking saw enormous growth as hobbies and a subculture with the growing popularity of the Internet. Is this for real? I would argue that it died out in the early/mid 1990s as telcos added tighter barriers and adopted digital circuits, while the proliferation of the Internet and VoiP gave phreakers better things to do. Maybe [b]hacking[/b] increased, but hacking != phreaking. - 17:00, 4 September 2005 (UTC)

Blueboxing was still possible out of the US right until *at least* late 90's, via home country directs to obscure third-world countries (Gautemala springs to mind for some reason). I do fully agree with the massive reduction in opportunity. Circa around 1994-1995, from my country, full international routing (C5 KP2) was available via at least two countries, limited outbound from at least three, all without routing codes. Direct inbound (C5 KP1) we could hit about another 4 or 5. Within a few years, the opportunities massively diminished.--Afekz 16:14, 6 October 2005 (UTC)

Phreaking went out of fashion when, and because, competitive long distance carriers such as MCI lowered the cost of long-distance calls by maybe 90%. Of course, curious technical people then turned their attention to computer hacking. One amalgam of computer hacking and phone phreaking that became popular in the 1970s was hacking into services such as Telenet and Tymnet, which were 110-300 baud dial-up services that enabled someone with an acoustically coupled modem to access mainframe computers owned by banks,government agencies, and corporations. This is the method depicted in the brilliant 1980 movie WarGames. Believe it or not, from the emergence of the first acoustically coupled modems in the early 1970s until the advent of the 300-baud Hayes Smartmodem circa 1980, all modems had to be acoustically coupled because the AT&T monopoly did not allow non-AT&T equipment to be electrically attached to its network. That was then illegal.

Mbstone (talk) 09:01, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

That first sentence seems like it should read: "In the late 1990s downloading poorly written textfiles about phreaking and hacking and misunderstanding them saw enormous growth as hobbies and a subculture with the growing popularity of the internet." I know that's all POV, but the sentence definitely isn't accurate as to what was going on. I'm sure search engine results from the time period showed massive numbers of H/P/V/A/C/W/* websites... (talk) 07:54, 12 April 2010 (UTC)

newbie comment[edit]

i always new the alt.2600 news group was about phreaking but now know the significance of the 2600. Thanks for the article!

another n00b comment/question[edit]

has the introduction of fiber optic cables as the primary phone line changed phreaking? If so, how, and should it be mentioned in the article? --Jsonitsacsig.giftalk to me crimes against humanity

Most of the changes in phreaking have been caused by the digital switchover; digital phreaking would not really be affected by fiber optics, as optic cables themselves are generally run between switching offices. If one were to forge digital signals, they should survive the digital->fiber->digital crossover just fine. In terms of phreaking optic lines themselves, it is tremendously difficult to "bug" or alter them, and new encryption techniques rely on the wavelength of the light itself as a "signature" showing no tampering of the line occurred. Rainman420 23:59, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

Inventor of the telephone[edit]

"One could argue that the inception of the telephone by Antonio Meucci could be the origin of phreak-like experimentation." This is presented as fact, but the identity of the inventor of the telephone is disputed. If no-one responds within 24 hours, I'll update the article to reflect this. --Dazzla 03:03, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

small change[edit]

Added 'Alan from Canada' under the "History of phreaking" topic. Alan was doing the same things in Canada that Group Bell was doing in the USA, minus the recordings. Quite a famous person in the Canadian underground scene. --othtim 05:13, 29 April 2006 (UTC)

The blotto box[edit]

I think it's widely assumed that the infamous hoax "the blotto box" would be impossible at any level... Telephone lines contain fuses to prevent surges (such as lightening strikes) from traveling very far. I think it's safe to change the wording to reflect it's impossibility. Rainman420 00:01, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

phishing is not appropriate here[edit]

Derivitive term is completely inaccurate. "Phishing" has nothing to do with phone phreaking. They are two completely seperate activities. I dispute the accuracy of this article.

minor cleanup[edit]

The fifth paragraph in the "History of Phreaking" page is still quite a chore to read. Maybe it should be split into shorter sentances? I split it up a bit already. I think that 12 commas in one sentance is too many, heh. :)

I cleaned up the previous stuff about the N2 in Wawina. If someone has more to add, please feel free to fill it in. Obviously, the cutover has't occured yet, but everything posted is factual. I'll update it again after the cutover to describe the new sounds.

The cutover occured. The portion about Wawina is now factual.

--Othtim 20:56, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

MF is not dead, yet[edit]

Contrary to popular belief, MF signaling with 2600 Hz control is not yet gone. One last place exists in Livengood, Alaska. The page has been edited to reflect this.

If you had read the article, you would have noticed it talked about the "continental" United States.

Eh, I take that back. MF it is. KP + 7 digits + ST. Sorry.

--Othtim 06:39, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

Livengood is sure dead now. (talk) 22:53, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

phreaking today[edit]

okay, so for some reason today i have decided to learn up on phreaking. the last time i've wondered what phreaking is must have been 10 years ago on CompuServe public chat forums where people publicly solicited info on phreaking. my main source of info today was one of the greatest sites of all time: (of course, most are horribly outdated by a decade and a half!)

There is a section of the end of multi frequency. I want to know: is this it for phreaking? Or is there any more future for phreaking?

I am royally confused and would appreciate more clarity. You know, I make (anonymous via proxy, like this one) edits of math articles, and non-mathematicians always say they cannot easily understand what the mathematicians are talking about. Now I finally understand what they are saying :). -- 11:19, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

Overlap with 2600 Hz article[edit]

There is way too much overlap between this and the 2600 Hz article. I would suggest that the 2600 Hz article be deleted and merged into this one (or the 2600 section in this article reduced to a sentence or two) Cornlad 19:59, 9 August 2006 (UTC)

Other phreaking techiques[edit]

This article seems only to deal with blue boxing. What about other exploits still being used (red boxing, beige boxing) and others that no longer work (green boxing)? Alpha Omicron 19:00, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

Aw shucks, they took out red boxing? Red boxing facilitated the practice of toll fraud by imitating the inline signaling tones used by pay phones. The original pay phones seen in old black-and-white movies had slots for nickels, dimes, and quarters (US 5c/10c/25c coins). You completed a long distance call by dialing the operator. The operator told you how much money to deposit into the pay phone, and she could tell how much you deposited by the sound of a bell (it was the Bell System). One bell was used for nickels and dimes (one ding for a nickel, two dings for a dime) and another, lower pitched bell signified the deposit of a quarter. Later pay phone models used electronic beeping noises to denote the denomination of coins, so what you would do is hold the speaker of your 'red box' tone oscillator up to the receiver, and play as many beeps as you needed to complete the call, one beep being worth a nickel. Perhaps the adoption of the beeps and deprecation of the bells was a countermeasure to prevent people from carrying bells around with them; one countermeasure to the red box was the redesign of pay phones so that the microphone would cut off until the call was completed, thereby preventing the telephone network from hearing the red box tones.

Only red, black and blue boxes were in common use. The black box, in case someone has deleted this reference also, was a method of tricking the telephone network into thinking the call had not yet been answered and that the destination telephone was still ringing (telephone subscribers were not billed until the recipient lifted the telephone receiver). A phone call made using a black box on the receiving end was free, but every few seconds conversations would be interrupted by the ring signal!

Mbstone (talk) 09:01, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

So was I red boxing pay phones back in '68 and '69? They used dings for dimes and dongs for quarters, as you mentioned. As a sixteen-year-old, I tape recorded a bunch of dongs and played them back for the operator on request. Under the phone's small "table" was a connection box. I used alligator clips from that to my portable Sony cassette player's output line (and clips also to record the dongs). I found it frightening telling the operator to keep the change, but for some reason they often got a chuckle out of that.

Something I tried only once, but got caught was even easier. It's not mentioned here. Just alligator clip your "found" phone to any outside connection box you may find. (Because phones were un-ownable, in those days they were often abandoned when moving, etc, then found by others.)

Doug B-- (talk) 17:06, 12 January 2011 (UTC)

Captain Bizzaro aka John Marshall[edit]

I'm thinking of getting rid of the Captain Bizzaro/John Marshall link in the "famous phreaks" section. I've never heard of a phreak by that name. Also the link goes to the Wiki for John Marshall, who was some justice in yesteryears. Anybody know anything about him? I-baLL 16:35, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

I-Ball, you'd probably know Bizzaro better by the name, "Captain B." Go search oldskoolphreak for his filez, there are some on natas' site. Yeah, he's not really "famous" at all, except maybe in his own mind.


Ah, coolness. Thanks, good to see you on here! I-baLL 06:35, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

What about phreaking in 90's and C5 signaling ?[edit]

I think it would be more precise to talk about what happened in late 80's and 90's , what was C5 phreaking on international 800 , and why not give away some .wav sample on blueboxing calls... What was the bbs phreaking scene, who was scavenger, give away some software dialers example on pc,amiga, atari etc..

I just would like to have some affirmation from other phreaks before giving up some stuffs about this on wikipedia

I just felt obliged to add some information about international blueboxing and both software for Atarai ST/STE which I myself wrote "back in the days", and some bluebox plans that I created together with a German friend of mine, you'll find all of the above here:

Sampling of an international boxed call, bluebox plans and software for Atari ST/STE Bluebox as well as some known PC blueboxing programs from back in the days. —Preceding unsigned comment added by ZaphodB-SE (talkcontribs) 07:33, 11 September 2010 (UTC)

Yes what about the program called whitebox from australia .. that used CCITT5 (R2) tones to make calls that was similar to blue box — Preceding unsigned comment added by Phreaker007 (talkcontribs) 06:46, 20 November 2013 (UTC)

Exploration of the telephone network[edit]

I feel this article needs to be more in-depth as to how phone phreaking is, in fact exploration of the telephone network, and although some boxes, despite being effective in today's network, is hardly relevant presently in the world of phreaking.

Not Famous[edit]

The "George Hoffman" and "John Swanson" people in the "famous phreaks" section are going. I'm removing them right now.

--Othtim 07:01, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

International Perspective[edit]

What? The notability of the subject is disputed? *cough* We'll have to fix that... :S

Anyways, in other news - I don't feel this article accurately reflects an international perspective. Does anyone have suggestions for making this article more correct from an international perspective? Right now it's very biased towards how phreaking evolved in North America.

--Othtim 07:00, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Modern-day Phreaking[edit]

I think something about modern-day phreaking should be added. It'd really make the article much more informal. I also really can't tell you how many times I've been asked that question :P

--ThoughtPhreaker 04:57, 8 Febuary 2007 (UTC)

I suggest that the "End of MF" section be removed, or at the very least, placed somewhere else. It's place at the end of the article causes confusion. Having the "End of MF" at the end of the phreaking article ends the article with a death. Really, the last line is, "On June 15th, around 1:40am, Eastern Daylight Time, any new incoming calls were unreachable." Makes it sound like phone phreaking died at the end of this article. Also, it's not really internationally relevant. Hell, it's not even relevant to most american phone phreaks, save a few. I think it should be cut, possibly put in a different article (like 2600hz?).
Also, I noticed that some new info about diverters and such was added. Awesome!
--Othtim 10:57, 25 May 2007 (UTC)

External links[edit]

I removed most of the links, and just re-removed a link to f41th magazine. I'd proposed removing the PLA and nettwerked links as well, but thought it worth discussing first. Most external links are considered inappropriate by Wikipedia:External links, and I find that 99% of community, (maga)zine, blog, etc sites are not suitable for inclusion.'s archives are a clear keeper, and I think the old blue box article, beyond that it is mostly a slippery slope into porn referrals. ;). The vast majority of phreaking related sites should not be listed here. comments appreciated, new links considered.. here 17:29, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

I removed the PLA site, as it's mostly for merchandising and community forums, neither of which are appropriate. The site does have some useful reference information, so I left it, but it's borderline. -Amatulic 17:36, 26 June 2007 (UTC) has files that are not hosted anywhere else on the internet (save, but they are sister sites). It's considered by most canadian hackers to be "the" repository for canadian phone phreaking information. If anything new or interesting happens in the world of phone phreaking in Canada, chances are you'll see/hear/read about it on nettwerked or hackcanada. --Othtim (talk) 03:03, 19 November 2007 (UTC)


I recommend merging the info at Evan Doorbell into this article. He's a notable phreak,[1] and has even been mentioned here on the phreaking article for a long time. He definitely provided a ton of primary source material, and I see his recordings being used elsewhere in research of that era.[2] Despite the autobiographical information that he's been providing at,[3] I just don't think that there's enough third-party reliable sources to justify a full bio at this time. --Elonka 22:48, 2 July 2007 (UTC)

Won't make sense as this article is about phreaking and not phreakers specifically. So I think it'll be a bad idea to merge a biography with an article that, as of present, does not contain any biographical information. I-baLL 14:52, 30 July 2007 (UTC)

The article on Evan Doorbell is a biographical article on the person and not necessarily about phreaking. The article should stay as it is not merged into another one. Dmine45 17:15, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

This article is informational, yet I do not believe that it conveys the current nature of phreaking. The final tone seems to suggest that it is dead, as it states that toll fraud and MF have died. It appears to contradict itself in that it does not state that the subculture is dead. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:40, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

Famous phone phreaks[edit]

I reverted Tqbf's changes to the Famous Phone Phreaks section, since at least in my opinion, any well-noted phreak within the scene deserves mention there. If anybody feels differently, feel free to revert.

It's a good idea to sign your name after your edit. You can do this with four tildes at the end of your comment.--Othtim (talk) 04:01, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

In defense of Quinn's place in this article[edit]

William Quinn (dec0der) is a notable phone phreak. Perhaps not notable enough to have his own article, but definately notable enough to be featured in the addendum of the phreaking page. Here is some information surrounding his case and indictment:

His case was covered in the New York Times and Computer World magazine, among others. He (Quinn) is also very well known for being the host of Default Radio, which remains as one of the most popular phone phreaking Podcasts ever, along with Radio Freek America.

He also submitted a number of articles to well known publications such as 2600 (Verizon's Call Intercept, Winter 2004). He also wrote a number of electronic articles that were distributed via the normal channels (such as These articles primarily focused on exchange scanning and manipulation of Verizon SASS and DATUs and are widely recognized within the community. --Othtim (talk) 04:19, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

In defense of Lucky225's place in this article[edit]

Lucky225 (Jered Morgan) is notable enough to have a footnote in this article. First off, he has his own stub article on wikipedia.

Lucky also has a few media publications of his own.

Lucky also was a co-host of Default Radio, which again (like dec0der) marks him as a rockstar of the phreak underground. He's also had talks at DEFCON 11 and DEFCON 12, as well as H2K2. He's discovered many Caller-ID related exploits, and he's been publishing articles in 2600 (and many other smaller electronic magazines) since 1999. --Othtim (talk) 04:33, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

"dialed phone recording"[edit]

Joe Engressia (...) discovered that whistling (...) a frequency of 2600 Hz would stop a dialed phone recording
What's that, a "phone recording"? --Jerome Potts (talk) 04:03, 8 January 2008 (UTC)


The article says that the switchover from the last N2 to T1 led to gradually increasing "static" over a period of five or more days. This is not what I'd have naively expected - could someone explain why this happened? (talk) 22:01, 11 February 2008 (UTC)


Apparently 2-1-1 only works in a few places in the U.S. where it is implemented by nonprofits and trapped by the phone company. Given that anarchist assistance beat FEMA to New Orleans by a few days, I find myself wondering if any phone phreaks have put their minds to the question of redirecting unimplemented 2-1-1's in case of emergency (or desperate need for amusement ;) ). (talk) 22:16, 11 February 2008 (UTC)

Phreaking Boxes[edit]

I created the Template {{Phreaking Boxes}} and I think it should go at the end of the article. eg

Notability issues with Carter, Lucky225, Carlson[edit]

The following were removed due to not being notable:

  • Brad Carter: RBCP - RedBoxChiliPepper
  • Lucky225 Jered Morgan
  • Strom Carlson

Notable phreaks would include others like Erik Bloodaxe. The three listed above do not have independent articles written about them. The criteria of having given Defcon talks is not enough to be notable. Defcon has notoriously low criteria for acceptance. In contrast, many of the other phreaks listed as famous in this article have had multiple independent books written about them. For example, mainstream journalists John Markoff and Katie Hafner have written about Justin Petersen and Kevin Mitnick. -- Sidfilter (talk) 04:49, 9 September 2008 (UTC) sidfilter

RedBoxChiliPepper is notable. He wrote a lot of humorous TXT files and promoted phreaking. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:36, 13 October 2013 (UTC)

What is going on in this article?[edit]

This article does not actually explain what phreaking is, nor does it actually explain what these people do/have done. Its like a essay without an opening paragraph. (talk) 19:49, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

Switch hook and tone dialer[edit]

This was introduced to me in the 1980's as 'tapping' and was known as that throughout the UK and Australia as far as I am aware. During many phone conversations with phreaks in the US I found that tapping was also the common term for it. Perhaps this should be added, but I am not inclined to do so myself as I cbf'd making an account due to wikidramu and admin banathons that occur here. Just thought I'd drop in a tip off. <3 (talk) 23:06, 6 April 2011 (UTC)

UK Phreaking[edit]

Would this be the right place to describe non-US phone phreaking? I believe that during the late 60s and early 70s the London telephone system could be phreaked by dialing GUL 06 followed by the first two digits of the number you required (usuallu the area or international access code) ... wait for a click and then finish dialing. This was a strowger system not a tone-based system. It was a mechanism for operators on one exchange to route calls via another if their local system developed a trunk fault. The Post Office would put a printer on this circuit and sometimes call the dialed number to see if they could find the culprits ... who usually called from telephone boxes (ie pay phones in the street). Other UK methods dating from strowger days include hop-dialing ... chaining local access codes to dial long distance (would give very poor lines) and, as Subscriber Trunk Dialing was being rolled out, using a local access code to reach an STD exchange, get new dial tone, and dialing out again. Anyone have sources for such things? Delverie (talk) 13:18, 2 June 2011 (UTC)

This is definitely the proper article for such an addition. I had no idea there was such capabilities and misdesigns in the UK phone system. What is "GUL 06"? Is that a special signal, or something that anyone could dial? —EncMstr (talk) 16:06, 2 June 2011 (UTC)

GUL 06 was the start of a number on the London Gulliver exchange. Sorry, I didn't make that clear. (London numbers at the time were a three letter exchange code, usually from a name like Mayfair or Langham, followed by a four digit number.) A basic seven digit urban phone number that anyone could dial in fact. So to dial through to 765 4321 you would dial 485 0676 ... wait for click ... 54321. I think this would only work within the London (then 01) director area although you could dial to anywhere on the automatic network. International dialling was limited at the time but I did see someone dial New York (automatic weather report) just to prove it worked. Delverie (talk) 10:19, 3 June 2011 (UTC)


“The last 2600 controlled trunk in the continental United States was operated by the independent Northern Telephone Company with an N2 Carrier system serving Wawina, MN until June 15th, 2006 when it was replaced by T1 carrier[14]. The last 2600 controlled trunks in North America were located in Livengood, AK and survived a further 5 years, being finally retired in March, 2011.” How is Alaska not “continental United States”? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Gidoca (talkcontribs) 21:54, 4 May 2012 (UTC)

I think it should be contiguous United States, not continental United States, but the redirect from the latter suggests that this is commonly confused term. Indeed, the next older version, before the redirect indicates that Alaskans and "Lower-48ers" had divergent use of the terms. —EncMstr (talk) 22:25, 4 May 2012 (UTC)
Ah, yes, that makes sense. I changed it now to read "contiguous". --Gidoca (talk) 11:03, 5 June 2012 (UTC)

Merger proposal (Phone hacking)[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was not merged--KTo288 (talk) 18:29, 13 February 2015 (UTC)

Phreaking and Phone hacking are ostensibly the same thing. Difference being, phreaking tends to focus more on the origin, use of tone dialing; whereas modern day phreaking would be more similar to hacking .. or phone-hacking.David Condrey (talk) 21:00, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
I completely disagree. The Phone Hacking article is about a spying concept, using telephone technology to steal information. Phreaking was the manipulation of telephone call routing through means other than prescribed by the telephone company and their equipment design. There was no malicious intent to receive data or information other than that necessary (codes and jargon) necessary to place further phone calls. Essentially the content of the call was far less important than the ability to make the connection. Trackinfo (talk) 22:57, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
Don't Merge. As Trackinfo has remarked, there's an obvious difference. Phreakers were concerned with the system itself, while phone hackers are principally concerned with the data that's stored on the system. RomanSpa (talk) 07:10, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
Don't Merge. Indeed, they are different subjects; they are, however, related. Does it make sense to merge both of them into Telephone network? (Currently a stub). Also I think that Phishing#History is large enough to be its own article and should be summarized in Phishing with a {{main|History of Phishing}}.Softtest123 (talk) 06:06, 26 July 2014 (UTC)
Don't Merge. Phone hacking is against customers, Phreaking is against vendors. I added distinction hatnotes.
  • Xb2u7Zjzc32 (talk) 04:24, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.


The person who wrote "To report that a phone call was long distance meant an elevated importance universally accepted as, the calling party is paying by the minute to speak to the called party; transact business quickly." might have known what they meant, but I don't! (talk) 16:37, 2 October 2014 (UTC)

Feel free to rewrite. Back in the day, the phrase "its long distance." meant "This is important enough this person is paying a lot of money, by the minute, to talk to you now! No time to screw around." Convey that in a better sentence. Trackinfo (talk) 17:52, 2 October 2014 (UTC)

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2600 Hertz[edit]

2600 Hertz is given a subsection under History and it's own section (the only one other than history). I recommend combining them, but since it's a somewhat significant change and there's a chance it is the way it is for a reason, I wanted to suggest it here instead of unilaterally changing it as my first edit on the topic. TheMikeBest (talk) 14:17, 28 April 2016 (UTC)

I don't see an issue, 2600 does not stand out as a formatting issue. It is the logical second of the steps in the development of phreaking, hook switch, 2600 Hz (or single frequency), then multiple frequency. The prose following the subsection is not written in such an elemental fashion, perhaps that might be better explained, but the subheaders are fairly appropriate. Trackinfo (talk) 14:41, 28 April 2016 (UTC)
I agree that it belongs under history, but I'm not sure it needs its own subsection. I think that subsection can, and should, be added to the first entry under history. The big issue I see with that is that the article would then have only one section (History) with several subsections. What I propose, and was admittedly vague about when I brought it up, is removing the History section and make all of its subsections their own sections, merging the "2600 Hz" section into "2600 hertz" section. The problem, as I see it, is that it breaks up the article unnecessarily and makes people jump around the page. Rather than divide up the article chronologically, why not divide it by topic? This is mostly what's done anyway, and the sections can be put into (more or less) chronological order. TheMikeBest (talk) 14:42, 30 April 2016 (UTC)
For alternate phrasing and explanations of the topic, it may be worth looking at the old 2600 hertz article from before it was redirected to this page: TheMikeBest (talk) 14:44, 30 April 2016 (UTC)
I like the 2600 Hz article. I do not see why it was merged and see no discussion to cause it to be merged. Maybe I am looking in the wrong place, but I suspect it was a unilateral change made by somebody. Trackinfo (talk) 19:01, 30 April 2016 (UTC)
I agree, and I think that while the technical uses of the 2600 Hz frequency are pretty much dead, it's historical and cultural significance is enough to justify having its own article. TheMikeBest (talk) 21:47, 30 April 2016 (UTC)
Unless someone can express a reason to NOT establish that article--I don't currently see other people talking here--I say we should reestablish it. Trackinfo (talk) 21:57, 30 April 2016 (UTC)
I think we should go ahead and do it. TheMikeBest (talk) 00:59, 2 May 2016 (UTC)

 Done Trackinfo (talk) 01:44, 2 May 2016 (UTC)

I added the main article template to the Phreaking#2600_hertz subsection. Should we move some or all of the text from Phreaking#2600_Hz as well? TheMikeBest (talk) 19:23, 2 May 2016 (UTC)

This died in early two-thousands[edit]

The last non-SS7 trunks were upgraded in the early two-thousands. A guy who goes by "The Goatroper" A.K.A. "NoTone" knows a lot of about the last non-digital tech and networks. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:45, 25 April 2017 (UTC)