Do all your phreaking before you turn 18, kids

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Please turn your attention to Rolling Stone, where an article about a blind, lonely phreaker is currently tearing up the charts. That is to say, it’s an article worth your time, and it’s certainly better than refreshing drudgereport.com for the thousandth time today.

The quick version, in case you can’t block off 15 minutes of your time to read the whole article, is that a blind kid named Matt was a great phreaker. He was handy with a telephone, able to recognize phone numbers by the tone alone, call up the phone company, impersonate a supervisor, and wreak havoc. He moonlighted as a swatter, someone who can call in a SWAT team to a person’s house in an act of revenge. (“You called me names? Have fun when the cops show up to your house, guns drawn, and drag your ass off to jail.) Lots of fun, in other words.

His progression was pretty predictable: the kid spent all day in his bedroom participating in telephone party lines; made friends, made enemies, swatted every now and then; helped take down someone for the FBI; got caught himself when he was over 18, and is now in prison in Dallas.

The lesson? Do all your phreaking before you turn 18.

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