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2 definitions found
 for phreaking
From The Jargon File (version 4.4.7, 29 Dec 2003) :

  phreaking
   /freek'ing/, n.
  
      [from ?phone phreak?]
  
      1. The art and science of cracking the phone network (so as, for example,
      to make free long-distance calls).
  
      2. By extension, security-cracking in any other context (especially, but
      not exclusively, on communications networks) (see cracking).
  
      At one time phreaking was a semi-respectable activity among hackers; there
      was a gentleman's agreement that phreaking as an intellectual game and a
      form of exploration was OK, but serious theft of services was taboo. There
      was significant crossover between the hacker community and the hard-core
      phone phreaks who ran semi-underground networks of their own through such
      media as the legendary TAP Newsletter. This ethos began to break down in
      the mid-1980s as wider dissemination of the techniques put them in the
      hands of less responsible phreaks. Around the same time, changes in the
      phone network made old-style technical ingenuity less effective as a way of
      hacking it, so phreaking came to depend more on overtly criminal acts such
      as stealing phone-card numbers. The crimes and punishments of gangs like
      the ?414 group? turned that game very ugly. A few old-time hackers still
      phreak casually just to keep their hand in, but most these days have hardly
      even heard of ?blue boxes? or any of the other paraphernalia of the great
      phreaks of yore.
  

From The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing (30 December 2018) :

  phreaking
  
      /freek'ing/ "phone phreak" 1. The art and science of
     cracking the telephone network so as, for example, to make
     free long-distance calls.
  
     2. By extension, security-{cracking in any other context
     (especially, but not exclusively, on communications networks).
  
     At one time phreaking was a semi-respectable activity among
     hackers; there was a gentleman's agreement that phreaking as
     an intellectual game and a form of exploration was OK, but
     serious theft of services was taboo.  There was significant
     crossover between the hacker community and the hard-core phone
     phreaks who ran semi-underground networks of their own through
     such media as the legendary "TAP Newsletter".
  
     This ethos began to break down in the mid-1980s as wider
     dissemination of the techniques put them in the hands of less
     responsible phreaks.  Around the same time, changes in the
     phone network made old-style technical ingenuity less
     effective as a way of hacking it, so phreaking came to depend
     more on overtly criminal acts such as stealing phone-card
     numbers.
  
     The crimes and punishments of gangs like the "414 group"
     turned that game very ugly.  A few old-time hackers still
     phreak casually just to keep their hand in, but most these
     days have hardly even heard of "blue boxes" or any of the
     other paraphernalia of the great phreaks of yore.
  
     [{Jargon File]
  
     (1994-11-09)
  

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