Phone phreaking: piracy before the Internet


Phone phreaking: piracy before the Internet

This week on cybersecurity from the editors of Cybercrime Magazine

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Sausalito, California – February 13, 2024

For a generation of today’s young people raised with smartphones, multi-megabit downloads, and digital home phones before them, the idea that the telephone system was once primitive enough to be manipulated with a plastic whistle is to both strange and enticing.

But it is exactly what happened in the 1970swhen the natural curiosity for the evolution of telephone networks gave birth to a generation of curious people “phone attacks” who spent a lot of time and energy poking and prodding the machines to see what was going on behind that rotating handset.

They were the forerunners of today’s hackers, sharing tips and tactics not through closed, cryptic message groups but through printed newsletters distributed by mail.

A new video essay published by Cybercrime Magazine tells the story.

The 4 minute and 30 second video is based on a history written by David Braue, who is also the narrator.

See the video

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