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Phreaking, The First Movement

The Fifteen Greatest Hacking Exploits

John Draper

Even before trying to access the computers of the US Navy, geeks had their methods for shocking people and making themselves known. As mentioned just above, John Draper was one of the first hackers, and gained his fame using a child's toy.

A Magic Whistle

In the late 1960s, after discovering a whistle inside a box of Cap'n Crunch cereal, he started his exploits. He had just become aware that those whistles were capable of generating a 2600 Hz tone, which was the frequency used by telephone lines to signal that a line was active. John Draper became one of the first users of this technique, which was rapidly christened "phreaking".

Draper's method was quite simple. First, he dialed a long-distance number, and while the number was ringing, he would use the whistle to send a tone at a frequency of 2600 hertz. This tone was similar to the one used by the telephone network to signal line status. By imitating this signal, he would make the telephone exchange believe he had hung up and that the line was free, even through the exchange had not received the actual signal corresponding to a call being hung up.

The Instigator of a New Movement

Draper's Whistle

Draper's activities were discovered when his telephone company realized that his account showed strange billing patterns. An investigation disclosed the affair, and Draper was arrested in 1972. Prosecuting Draper took a long time, because it was the first time in history that the legal system had dealt with this type of fraud. Four years later Draper was sentenced to two months in prison.

His activities gave birth to a whole movement surrounding phreaking. A hacker and phreaker group arose and gave themselves the name "2600", and many other people also tried to find ways to stop paying for telephone calls.

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  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , September 4, 2008 7:27 AM
    They should have very serious consequences for hackers. I'm tired of defaced websites, viruses, trojans, etc. Although it is fun to screw around with other people's computers..especially if they've done it to you...but either way there should be some huge penalties for hacking. I say chop off a thumb on the first offence. 2nd offence: chope off the rest of the fingers on that hand. Hackers along with script kiddies would cease to exist.
  • 3 Hide
    itadakimasu , September 12, 2008 7:20 PM
    sounds like you have been the victim of malware and virii while doing some questionable internet browsing...
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , September 16, 2008 4:41 AM
    Well, 'Anonymous', I hope you're using Tor to browse the 'intarweb', you worthless plebian.
    Here in the USA, we aren't barbarians, and the only people who would even deserve such harsh treatment would be rapists and their ilk. Even so, we just lock em up and release them on probation a few months/years later. :p 
    Not perfect, but I say cutting off fingers because you're too stupid to take basic steps to protect your system? Kinda harsh.
    The difference between a robber and a hacker, is that you can completely stop a hacker by unplugging your phone line from your modem.
    Do that, for the sake of humanity. :p 
  • 0 Hide
    arkadi , September 18, 2008 1:27 PM
    Well it is important info, but i don't think you can call them the best :)  they got basted after all. Governments got best hackers if you ask me.
  • 0 Hide
    Reynod , September 18, 2008 1:39 PM
    There are numerous other well documented hacks that probably deserved a mention.

    At least you did take the moral high ground.

    You neglected to mention Electron and Phoenix ... clearly they were better than most of these mentioned here.

  • 2 Hide
    deadliest , October 17, 2008 10:44 AM
    hmmm so this hacker list is not complete oh oh oh , you should have guys, it was most interesting reading about this. But i think hackers are a necessary evil without them how would i play my pirated games :D 
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , December 13, 2010 11:03 PM
    @ Arkadi
    "Well it is important info, but i don't think you can call them the best :)  they got basted after all. Governments got best hackers if you ask me. "

    Lol, where do you think the Government found there hackers? They hired guys like this ^^Rofl
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 27, 2011 9:12 AM
    Script kiddies. Blegh.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , April 13, 2011 8:58 AM
    its good to be a hacker
  • 0 Hide
    jordanprogrammer , October 8, 2013 9:19 AM
    the best website for programming language: