Excellent new book about Phone Phreaks [telecom]

Here is an excellent new book that traces the history of Phone Phreaks. It is well researched and well put together.

"Exploding The Phone : The untold story of the teenagers and outlaws who hacked Ma Bell", by Phil Lapsley.

I am not involved with above book, just found it great reading.

Look for it in your local library.

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***** Moderator's Note *****

The book is available for about $15 from Amazon and other sites. I haven't read it yet.

The URL is

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, but be sure to shop around. Checking out Amazon is worth it just to see the other books they recommend to go with it: titles such as "Top Secret Tourism".

Amazon also lets you read the Foreword by Steve Woniak.

Bill Horne Moderator

Reply to
Lou Meiss
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Re, "Exploding the Phone ..."

Based on a quick look at the book's website and some materials there, this appears to be well-researched. It covers some of the early, pre-Captain Crunch, history that many accounts overlook.

I think I will have to get a copy.


Reply to
Charles Jackson


I have read it and met the author at a talk. I recommend it.

Reply to
David Lesher

Yes, it's a very good book.

While it has some technical details, it basically written in a light breezy style. It's more about the people themselves involved in phreaking than the specific techniques of how it was done; though the reader will get some idea of MF signalling tones and how the phreaks jumped in to take control.

It describes how developing the phreaking techniques took substantial patience and practice; one didn't just shoot off internal MF signals. The November

1960 BSTJ had a detailed article describing control and signalling over the network, and the early hackers made good use of this. But understanding this article requires a solid technical knowledge.

It describes some holes in the old Bell network that allowed the very determined phreaks to gain access to Verification trunks, allowing them to evesdrop on conversations, as well as access to the military's Autovon network.

The author provides a website loaded with documents.

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Presumably, the replacement of 4A toll crossbar and the crossbar tandem, and the emergence of CCIS and SS7 eliminated the ability to hack into the network. But then we have modern hackers, like "Rachel from credit card services"

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