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Phreaking is a slang term coined to describe the activity of a subculture of people who study, experiment with, or explore telecommunication systems, such as equipment and systems connected to public telephone networks. As telephone networks have become computerized, phreaking has become closely linked with computer hacking.[1] This is sometimes called the H/P culture (with H standing for hacking and P standing for phreaking).

The term phreak is a portmanteau of the words phone and freak, and may also refer to the use of various audio frequencies to manipulate a phone system. Phreak, phreaker, or phone phreak are names used for and by individuals who participate in phreaking. A large percentage of the phone Phreaks were blind.[2][3] Because identities were usually masked, an exact percentage cannot be calculated.



Switch hook and tone dialer

Possibly one of the first phreaking methods was switch-hooking. It is considered softcore[citation needed] because it has almost negligible toll fraud potential. Nevertheless it allows placing calls from a phone where the rotary dial or keypad has been disabled by a key lock or other means to prevent unuthorized calls from that phone. It is done by rapidly pressing and releasing the switch hook to open and close the subscriber circuit, simulating the pulses generated by the rotary dial. Even most current telephone exchanges support this method[citation needed], as they need to be backward compatible with old subscriber hardware.

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