|The Ultimate Beginners Guide**|
| To Phreaking |
| 1999 Edition |
| By Squiler (SQR) |
| http://blacksun.box.sk |
"No AT&T, thank YOU!"
-Phone Losers Of America
"What the hell is caller id?"
"Laughter is free, anytime, just call me, 439-0116"
"I got the hook up"
"By the way! its not a game! its a way of life!!!!!"
-(¯-_-¯13¯-_-¯) PLA QuÉbec
"Alexanger Graham Bell must be turning over in his grave"
**On the Lighter Side: I was originally going to call this "SQR's Phreaking Tutorial".
However this was changed after I felt that I sounded to much like a foul-mouthed hick.
I have seen many phreaking tutorials in the past. Each of them had one or more things wrong
with them. Either they were too old, too long, too short, or too advanced. That is why I set
out to create an up to date phreaking tutorial short enough too be read, easy enough to
understand, and covered more areas of phreaking rather than box plans.
What is a phreaker?
Literally, a phreaker is a "phone hacker". However a phreaker can be anyone who messes around
with phones or phone lines. The same way a hacker is not necessarily someone who cracks
government files, but someone that messes around with computers.
Why become a phreaker?
Only become a phreaker if you are committed to it, interested in it, and in need of a hobby.
Do not, and I stress do not become a phreaker to impress your friends. If you want to impress
your friends become a hacker.
Much of the information here contains illegal activities. This document is for informational
purposes only. Do not attempt anything stated in this document. If you do attempt anything
here, you are solely responsible for what you do. If you get caught and get in any kind of
trouble, it is your own fault. If you do not agree to this, do not read any further.
Part 1: Prank Calling
You may have heard the term "boxing" (boxing refers to the building of various phone add-ons)
associated with phreaking before. However boxing is in no way all that phreaking has to offer.
Boxing is phreaking, but phreaking is not boxing. Got it?
Now I'm going to begin with one of the easiest and most phun areas of phreaking--prank calling!
Before we get into prank calling, let me tell you a few things that prank calling is not.
-dialing a random number, screaming FUCK YOU!!!, and hanging up (although occasionally I get a
kick out of that).
-repeatedly dialing the same number over and over again, and every time someone picks up, you
hang up. This drives the person insane, but it is still not a phreak.
Ok...So what is a prank call you ask? Well A prank call is when you call someone up, lead them
on for as long as you can (the key to success in prank calling is the longer you stay on, the
better), and hang up with them still thinking that was a real call. The call can be funny or
serious. An example of a serious call would be calling someone up, and getting important
information on them (i.e. credit card number, be creative). A funny call is one where you make
the person think that you are messed up. An example is a great one from Crankings (a prank
calling group) where a guy calls up a Mobile gas station claiming his son used their oil as a
sexual lubricant. He then asked the gas station attendant if his son's dick would fall off.
I was cracking up. That was an example of a real prank call. The key to a funny call is that
it can be funny to you without pissing them off. In the previous call, the callers, and anybody
who heard the call was cracking up, but the gas station attendant was not angry. He just
thought he was talking to some really screwed up people.
One mistake I made was that I used to think you had to piss the other person off to make it
funny for you. But I was wrong. Once I called up a woman and asked her if she was satisfied
with her sex life. I went into all these other things and kept her on the phone for a few
minutes. A little later her husband or boyfriend or whatever called back. He recited my
address then added, "That's where you live punk?"
Which brings me to the next part--don't get caught!!
Well first of all if you are calling from home, you better use *67 or whatever. However the
best thing to use is a caller-id blocker box. It makes it so your name will not show up on a
caller id, while *67 only stops your number from *69. Well now you ask, where do I obtain a
caller-id blocker box? Well, there are 2 ways. The first is to get one from one of those
"things you never knew existed catalog", the drawback is the price sometimes (remember shipping
and handling) and the fact that it will take a few days to get to you, plus it is non-returnable
and non-refundable. The next way is to pick one up from Radio Shack. The drawback to this is
that not all Radio Shack stores carry them, and it may be hard to obtain. However this is probably your best bet.
One last note on prank calling- Practice, practice, practice. If you feel the need to laugh,
press mute, or hang-up. Try not to piss people off.
And oh yeah, I have discovered one of the most fun prank calls. You call someone up, and say,
"mom, can you pick me up now?", or something of the sort, then lead them on to other stuff, be
creative. From my experience, this works at least 40% of the time. Another form of this is to
call someone up, and ask for a common name, (like Josh or David or something) then claim to be
their friend. If they ask who you are, use another common name like Michael or something.
Then say, you want them to come over to your house, or to meet them somewhere. This call works
less of the time, but when it does, it's great...So don't screw it up!
[END OF PART 1]
Part 2: Boxing
Let me begin by saying that this document is for informational purposes only. Do not attempt
anything written here. You are responsible for your own actions.
Oh, and one more thing- along with phreaking comes a code of ethics. I can't tell what that is,
you'll have to find out yourself. But the one thing I will tell you is that you should never
fuck with people who don't deserve it. If you want to screw people up, make sure they are
assholes who deserve it.
To begin, what exactly is boxing? As I said before, boxing refers to the building of various
phone add-ons. These add-ons can do anything from adding music to your line to making free
phone calls. There are over 40 boxes in all.
Box names are usually named after colors, such as the red box, or the yellow box. However some
are named for other things such as the cheese box and the tron box. Boxes are used by phreakers
everywhere. The most popular boxes are the red box and beige box.
FYI (for your information): You might think that boxes were invented and are only used by
teenage phreakers, but that is not true. One of the most famous phreakers is Cap'n Crunch,
who is long past his teenage years. As a matter of fact, the first box ever made was the blue
box (free long distance calls). It was made in the 70's by Steve Jobs, who later founded Apple
On The Lighter Side: With his blue box, Steve Jobs made one of the most famous prank calls in
history. He called up Vatican city, and pranked the pope.
So far, you have made prank calls, which makes you a phreaker. However your adventures are
still related to hacking. Boxes are the clincher, the line that truly separates phreaking from
hacking. This is because boxing is a form of phreaking called "field phreaking". As a hacker,
you sit at your computer all day. When you make prank calls, you still just sit at home. But
as a field phreaker, you go out an do things.
Now we come to the next section-your first box.
But before we get into your first box, here's a list of tools to keep handy when you're out
-Backpack for holding these tools:
-wire strippers-a MUST have
-7/16 hex driver
-Philips head screw driver (large)
-Philips head screw driver (small)
-flathead screw driver (large)
-flathead screw driver (small)
-2 feet of extra telephone wire
-good, sharp scissors
-Swiss army knife (optional, but very useful) with:
-Philips head screw driver
-flat head screw driver
-A Partner (once again optional but useful. You should always have a partner for field
phreaking "missions", but generally, you should have about 2-3 other "phreaking buddies".)
FYI: Yet another reason that separates phreaking from hacking. A partner will always help in
field phreaking "missions". Sometimes you will see that having a partner will make the
"mission" a more fun experience, plus they can help you out of sticky situations. This is also
true in prank calling, because why would you prank call if you have no one to laugh about it
Got everything? Good. Now we can finally get to making your first box.
First of all, the box you will be making is called the beige box. It is very easy to make and
has many purposes. Anytime you see the words "lineman's headset" or "test phone", they are
referring to the beige box.
What is it? Did a phone guy ever come to your house to repair or install something? Or have you
seen the phone working up top the phone pole? Look at his tool belt. There is a bright orange
phone, you can't miss it. This phone is called a lineman's headset. Usually, after the phone
guy repairs a line, or installs a new one, he uses the lineman's headset to test and see if the
line is working. This is what we'll be making, but we have other purposes for it.
Basically, the beige box enables a phone to be hooked directly to the line. Usually, you hook
the phone up to a jack, which is hooked up to the line, however the beige box eliminates the
need for a jack. Can you think of any uses for this? Yup, that's right, with the beige box,
you can use someone's phone line without having to go inside their house and hook up to the jack.
Don't get so excited just yet, we haven't built it yet.
Parts you will need for this:
-phone wire with modular jacks at both ends. (one goes into the phone, the other goes into the
Tools you will need for this:
-scissors, or knife
-7/16 hex driver (for later)
that's all? Yup! With such few things needed to make this, it can't be hard, and it's not.
Step 1: If one end of the phone wire is not already connected to the phone line, do so now.
Step 2: Cut off the modular jack at the other end. Strip about 6 inches of the outside
wire. This is not easy, because the wire is very thick. You may want to take the scissors
and make a small cut in the wire (not too deep or you will cut the inside wires) and put it
Step 3: There should be four wires inside. Yellow, green, red and black. Discard the
black and yellow wires, you don't need them. Concentrate on the red and green wires.
Step 4: Strip the green wire. Now strip the red wire.
Step 5: Connect one alligator clip to the red wire, then connect one to the green wire.
CONGRATULATIONS, you have a beige box.
Were those directions too hard to follow? Here's a step by step schematic:
| Phone |
Modular Jack-> |||
Cut here--------^ ^
it [the wire] should look (somewhat) like this:
^------|Wires to concentrate on
All in all, it should look like this:
| Phone |
Now that you've built your beige box, let's see what you can use it for.
You have just built the most basic beige box, which means it has no security options.
When using this box, it is very easy to get caught. That is why you will only be using this
beige box on your own phone line. Later in this tutorial I will show how to build the Beige Box
Advanced System (BBAS), my own advanced version of the beige box. You can use the BBAS on other
people's phone lines. But first, let's see how we attach the beige box to your phone line.
You will need the 7/16 hex driver for this.
First thing is to locate the phone box outside your house. It is usually on the side of your
house, or in the backyard. Most of the time it is near your heating shit. It is usually gray or
beige, and has a bell logo on it. To open the box put your hand on the bottom, push up and
open it. If that fails pop it open with the hex driver. All you have to do now is connect the
alligator clip on the red wire to the wire in the box, do the same with the green wire. This is
hard to explain so I've drawn a schematic:
(schematic on next page)
It should look (somewhat) like this:
| | <----Phone Box
| ** <-----Screws--> **>=<| |
| Alligator clip^ | |
| | |
| Red Wire (sometimes green-->| |
| | |
| | |
| Screws--> ** | ^ | |
|Modular Jack cut from here------^ | |
| | | |
| | | |
| Green Wire (sometimes red)-->| | |
| | | |
| | | |<--Phone Wire
| ** <----Screws--> **>=<| | |
| ^ | |
| Alligator Clip^ | |
| | |
| | |
| | |
| Phone |______________|
| | ^Phone Wire
This may be hard to follow, but try, reading schematics is something you'll have to do if you
want to build boxes in the future.
Now pick up the phone. If you hear a dial tone, you are now officially a field phreaker.
If not retrace your steps.
Ok, you've built your beige box. You can't quite use it yet because it has no safety
precautions. Don't worry, I'll get to the BBAS later. But for now, I'm going to teach you one
of the most talked about techniques in all of phreaking--(drum roll please) Red Boxing.
Well I'm assuming that if you went around to enough phreaking sites to find this tutorial, then
you must have heard the term red boxing before. But for those of you who didn't...
What exactly is red boxing?
Red boxing is a way of getting free calls off of pay phones. The way this is works is because
when you insert a quarter into a pay phone, it makes a tone which signals the phone that you can
make a call.
How does red boxing work?
What the red box does is generate the tones that the phone makes when you put in a quarter,
Thus giving you a free call.
What is the difference between the red box, and red boxing?
One thing you must remember is that a red box does not give you free calls from a payphone.
All the red box does is generate tones, which can be used for free calls.
Are you getting an idea? What if I could alternatively obtain the tones? Then I could make free
pay phone calls without the trouble of building a red box!
Well there are a few ways to do this.
First, you could go to HTTP://SQUILER.HOME.DHS.ORG and pick up the tones from there, but hey,
you're a phreaker, and you like to do things yourself.
Well, the first thought that probably comes to mind when you here this is to put a tape recorder
to a phone, put in a quarter, and record the tone it makes. That way you get unlimited payphone
calls for a quarter. However it is not that easy, in fact there are two things wrong with this
The first thing wrong is the tape recorder. You see, the tones generated by the phone are
digital. Your tape recorder on the other hand is analog. When you record digital tones on to
an analog tape recorder (although you can't hear it) they become to distorted for the phone to
recognize. Your best bet is to get one of those personal hand recorders. You know, the ones
you always see in ads? Those are digital because they use a chip to record the sounds, not a
Even if you a digital recorder to the phone, there is still a problem--background noise. This
also distorts the tones, making them unusable. However there is a way around this using your
First off, you'll need a digital answering machine. If you've bought an answering machine in
the past year and a half or so, it's digital. Mine is the AT&T 1720 Digital Answering Machine.
Now here's what you have to do. When no one is home, go to a payphone and call your house.
Since no one is home, the answering machine will pick up. When you hear the tone, put a quarter
or two into the phone. When you get home, record the tones from your answering machine to your
Now that you are all set go to a payphone. Pick up the phone and play the tones. There you go.
Usually this works perfect on long distance calls. But for local calls, you might have to speak
to an operator. But before you do, you better get some practice because speaking to an operator
is the number one way that phreakers get caught.
Overwhelmed? Don't be. You know more than you think. You must be tired now, so we're going to
take a little break. Maybe now you should eat, go to the bathroom, call a friend (if you still
have any) get out of your house, go somewhere, maybe make a few prank calls. Just don't get
But for now you should sit back and read some good phreaking literature. You can start with
this adventure story.
Bad as Shit
Recently, a telephone fanatic in the northwest made an interesting
discovery. He was exploring the 804 area code (Virginia) and found out that the 840 exchange
did something strange.
In the vast majority of cases, in fact in all of the cases except one, he would get a
recording as if the exchange didn't exist. However, if he dialed 804-840 and four rather
predictable numbers, he got a ring!
After one or two rings, somebody picked up. Being experienced at this kind of thing, he could
tell that the call didn't "supe", that is, no charges were being incurred for calling this
number. (Calls that get you to an error message, or a special operator, generally don't
supervise.) A female voice, with a hint of a Southern accent said,
"Operator, can I help you?"
"Yes," he said, "What number have I reached?"
"What number did you dial, sir?"
He made up a number that was similar.
"I'm sorry that is not the number you reached." Click.
He was fascinated. What in the world was this? He knew he was going to
call back, but before he did, he tried some more experiments. He tried the 840 exchange in
several other area codes. In some, it came up as a valid exchange.
In others, exactly the same thing happened -- the same last four digits, the same Southern
belle. Oddly enough, he later noticed, the areas worked in seemed to travel in a beeline from
Washington DC to Pittsburgh, PA.
He called back from a payphone. "Operator, can I help you?"
"Yes, this is the phone company. I'm testing this line and we don't seem to have an
identification on your circuit. What office is this, please?"
"What number are you trying to reach?"
"I'm not trying to reach any number. I'm trying to identify this circuit."
"I'm sorry, I can't help you."
"Ma'am, if I don't get an ID on this line, I'll have to disconnect it. We show no record of it
"Hold on a moment, sir."
After about a minute, she came back. "Sir, I can have someone speak to you. Would you give me
your number, please?"
He had anticipated this and he had the payphone number ready. After he gave it, she said,
"Mr. XXX will get right back to you."
"Thanks." He hung up the phone. It rang. INSTANTLY! "Oh my God," he
thought, "They weren't asking for my number -- they were confirming it!"
"Hello," he said, trying to sound authoritative.
"This is Mr. XXX. Did you just make an inquiry to my office concerning a phone number?"
"Yes. I need an identi--"
"What you need is advice. Don't ever call that number again. Forget you
ever knew it."
At this point our friend got so nervous he just hung up. He expected to
hear the phone ring again but it didn't.
Over the next few days he racked his brains trying to figure out what the number was. He knew
it was something big -- that was pretty certain at this point. It was so big that the number
was programmed into every central office in the country. He knew this because if he tried to
dial any other number in that exchange, he'd get a local error message from his CO, as if the
exchange didn't exist.
It finally came to him. He had an uncle who worked in a federal agency. He had a feeling that
this was government related and if it was, his uncle could probably find out what it was. He
asked the next day and his uncle promised to look into the matter.
The next time he saw his uncle, he noticed a big change in his manner. He was trembling.
"Where did you get that number?!" he shouted. "Do you know I almost got fired for asking about
it?!? They kept wanting to know where I got it."
Our friend couldn't contain his excitement. "What is it?" he pleaded.
"What's the number?!"
"IT'S THE PRESIDENT'S BOMB SHELTER!"
He never called the number after that. He knew that he could probably cause quite a bit of
excitement by calling the number and saying something like, "The weather's not good in
Washington. We're coming over for a visit." But our friend was smart. he knew that there were
some things that were better off unsaid and undone. <>
From @UICVM.uic.edu:TK0JUT2@NIU Tue Jun 12 06:40:26 1990
Taken from "The Official Phreaker's Manual".
Well I've putting it off long enough, and if you've accomplished everything, you are ready to
build the BBAS.
Let me take back something I just said. You see, sometimes us phreakers are pressed for time.
We can't just build things from scratch. So now instead of building the BBAS from nothing,
we're going to modify the beige box we already have. Although we're only going to make some
small changes, these are very important changes. The main improvement on the BBAS is that is
has features to prevent you from getting discovered and caught. And if I must, once again--
there is no sure way to prevent getting caught. But don't get discovered, and don't do anything
Well since we're only going to be modifying the beige box, we won't need many parts. Here is a
list of things you'll need for the BBAS:
-your beige box
-a phone with an "in-use" light
-clip, to hold down mute. (This is hard to find and use, but very useful)
-A simple switch (can be bought for under $2USD at any hardware store
Ok, here's what to do:
STEP 1: Switch the phone you have already with the phone that has the "in-use" light.
STEP 2: Cut the phone wire in half around the middle of it.
STEP 3: Strip some wire off both of the new ends of the wire.
The switch should have 2 screws on it.
STEP 4: Wrap one of the new ends of the wire (both wires, red and green) around one screw, and
the other new end around the other screw.
It should look (somewhat) like this:
| Phone |------====*|||||*===--------=====
|_______________| ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^
Wire stripped here--^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^
Red and green wires----^ ^ ^ ^ ^_____
| Screws--^ ^--Switch ^
| |________^ ^
Now lets how to explain how to use it.
Put the clip (if you have one) on the mute button of the phone. This is for the occasion that
you plug into someone's line while they're on the phone, and you don't want them hearing any
Put the batteries in the phone. For the light, will be in the phone manual.
The switch is a "panic" switch. It is used to immediately disconnect your call if you're on
someone's phone and then they pick up.
Now the first rule of phreaking I always say, is knowing where you are, and this is very important
because one of the most frustrating things that happens when field phreaking is not knowing what
number you are beige boxing from. Lucky for us phreakers there are things called Automated
Number Identification Numbers (ANI or ANAC). When you dial the ANAC number for your area code,
a recording will come on and name your phone number. So naturally, this is perfect for beige
boxing. The only catch is that there is a different ANAC for each area code. Here is the
complete list of ANAC numbers for each area code:
Area Code: ANAC Number:
Now the second rule is never to get caught. If you call someone from someone else's line,
tell that person that you might get disconnected suddenly.
If you hear someone pick up the phone, while you are on it, use the switch to disconnect your
call. Unhook your BBAS, and run like hell.
Also, you should be very cautious. Before you go phreaking, think of an alibi of why you were
snooping around in someone's yard.
NEVER, and I stress NEVER, use the BBAS on someone's house more than twice. You WILL
Also I said before that if you hear someone on the line when you hook up the BBAS that you
should immediately hang up, if you want to make a call. This is not entirely true. What if you
didn't want to make a call. Got my drift? If you didn't, I'm talking about eavesdropping!
That's what the clip on the mute button is for.
Although it might not seem like it, eavesdropping is probably the most serious part of beige
boxing. You might get lucky and listen in on a really good call, well use your imagination.
Anyway, they key to beige boxing-- the one thing you must always remember is--
Nothing will end up on your phone bill! (hehehe.....) Be creative.
So far, you have made some killer prank calls, made a machine to use anyone's phone for free,
and gotten free payphone calls. This document is for begginers only, and you are way past that.
If you didn't understand something, read it over. But whatever you do, like I said before--
don't get caught!!
Coming soon: Intermediate guide to phreaking
Tuesday, May 04, 1999