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Old 18 June 2006, 02:04   #85
Monochrome and 8 bit

Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Underbarrow, Gods Country
Age: 51
Posts: 592
Originally Posted by Galahad/FLT
there was also a program on Channel 4 in the UK where two idiots showed with Roxbox, an Amiga, a pair of headphones how to phreak.

British Telecom up to that point didn't give a fuck as it wasn't money coming from their pockets and they didn't want to modify all the exchanges to stop it, but that program signalled the end of phreaking in the UK.
"Walk On The Wild Side" was the programme, can't remember the episode title. I have it on VHS around here somewhere. Will see if I can find, and post on usenet or somewhere. A matey, Chris Bird, knew one of the people (from Raxor 1911 if memory serves me right, it was 13+ years ago!) featured, and later sent me a tape that they had made after BT changed the low level routing codes post-transmission of that programme. (hey, Galahad, you ought to know a TV programme is spelt with an mme )

Basically, <egg suck mode on> AT&T were picking up the cost, which was not a problem for BT, but too many shareholders were also shareholders in BT's only UK rival, C&W. Added to that, after that broadcast the TA lines were clogged - literally swamped - by peeps trying to box out. There were only 8 satellites at the time, and not a lot of trans-atlantic cable, so limited capacity...

It also signalled the end for another reason. Although BT were not losing revenue on calls that remained stateside (or international) they were losing revenue on calls that came back to the UK, in the sense that they were losing the profit from a national call. After the codes changed, BT swooped on a lot of boxers. I never found out the numbers, but I know a few hundred people were given bills for the national calls they *would* have made.. mine was around six or seven hundred quid.

edit: thinking about it, over the last 13 years, this is probably my most oft-repeated story from those days. It obviously sticks, as I've heard it repeated - at times verbatim - from other people.. and more often that not I can trace the source back to me! :edit

Oddly enough, call-fraud is still big business in the UK. My previous employer had the distinction of having the industrys' only dedicated phone fraud team. When they came over to Crewe from York, they looked like a bunch of criminals (bloody good guys tho), and between the four of them saved the company millions in toll-fraud, clawed back hundred of thousands in revenue from "cheeky customers" (for example, customers who claimed - as a fault report - that they didn't have level-9 or dial-out access; the reality was they didn't order it and were trying it on) and led the industry in software design and process. I wont go into details, but railway stations featured quite heavily the fraud... ;-)

Remember quite fondly good old Roxbox, dialling a hotel in Hawaii, then boxing off it. We were lucky, we had another means of doing it, although we limited to UK national calls. And the drop-back/emergency level 9 facility on the exchanges in certain large organisational installations was useful, too. Thinking about that program, there was an awful lot of padding in it, extended cut scenes for example. Be interesting doing a follow up, looking at mobile fraud, wireless piggybacking, bluetooth snarfing, hot-spot/AP masquerades, if only to raise public awareness of the potential problems.

Last edited by alewis; 19 June 2006 at 19:15.
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