The Philosopher

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Everything posted by The Philosopher

  1. Whew, it has been a LONG time. What's up around here these days?

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      Hey Philosopher, I just returned here a few days ago as well. Welcome back!

  2. Hello, all.
  3. Greetings all- For various reasons I have been on an extremely lengthy sabbatical from H/P lately (all other aspects of 'real life' called, left a voicemail, msg'd me on IRC, etc. ), and I'm not entirely prepared to return fully just yet. I just wanted to note that the new issue of Phrack, #67, has finally been released and is now available at http://www.phrack.org. I have an article in it regarding DCO-CS PSTN switches, my phreak magnum opus really, which I highly encourage everyone to peruse and comment upon. Enjoy! --The Philosopher
  4. My paper, "Notes Concerning the Security, Design and Administration of Siemens DCO-CS Digital Switching Systems", the result of a year of detailed research, has just been published in Phrack #67. FInally!

  5. has returned to the H/P 'scene' following a long hiatus during the academic year...summer!

  6. occasionally reminded of the rather unpleasant fact that people such as yourself actually EXIST. I prefer to pretend that they don't.

  7. You thoroughly disgust me. A member of a military, who makes quasi-fascist comments such as "People need to determine when it is time to set aside their rights for the good of others." and ridiculous ones regarding wanting to kill "the inventor" of spyware, in addition to more moralistic idiocy such as an idea to create malware to delete child pornography. Ugh. I am occasiona...

  8. No, not a Rand acolyte, but an anarcho-capitalist. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarcho_capitalism
  9. The only problem with libraries such as those you mentioned is their governmental/publicly funded nature. I love and have always loved to patronize libraries as much as you did and do, but it often weighs upon my conscience a bit as I am essentially patronizing an institution built and paid for with stolen money, with pilfered funds. --The Philosopher
  10. I also once experienced a similar incident-these sorts of oddities collectively comprised one significant impetus factor for me becoming a phreak! It is likely that this resulted from accidental (or potentially intentional) mis-wiring and/or programming that ultimately created what is known as a "hot drop" into your line. I am unaware of the extent of your knowledge of the layout of the PSTN, and I may be about to repeat some information of which you are aware already. At the junction boxes/access points (the likes of which are also known as 'B-boxes' and appear to be usually greenish pedestals appearing every 40 or 50 ft. in suburban areas, located either directly on the ground or high on utility poles), the wires that bring landline service into your home are spliced along with many others and run off to your house. Research 'beige boxing' for much further information on the exploitation of these access points. Instead of connecting a phone directly to these wires to utilize one's service, it is possible also to simply run them off to another house/connect them to another pair. The really interesting aspect of all of this is that, often, B-boxes are messy; that is, many wires that carry service to various houses may be and usually are interconnected in this fashion. Usually, though, the other pairs/wires to which yours are connected in the box-the vestigial/residual connections, are 'dead', i.e., inactive and nonfunctional. In rare cases such as this, though, such connections may be 'live', or unexpectedly active. This could result from three primary causes: 1.) (Malicious) intent-if someone was to intentionally place a 'tap', to splice your wires and run them elsewhere. This is quite unlikely, though, as it is obviously detectable and of limited stealth. Plus, you wouldn't hear people on the other end... 2.) Mis-wiring, as mentioned. It's entirely plausible that a lineman made a mistake while tampering with wires in the junction box, lost track of them, and accidentally created such a "hot drop" as a result. 3.) Programming mistake-phone service is "turned on"-that is, wires are activated, at the switch, or, actually, through various OSSes (Operational Support Systems) connected/linked to the switch, such as COSMOS, SWITCH, WFA/DO, etc. An error in programming or input into certain OSSes could lead to the creation of a hot drop, by mistakenly activating a connection to your wires that was previously 'dead' or placing an order (known in telco terminology as a 'ticket') for work to do so. I hope that this proves informational! --The Philosopher
  11. Well, in the Autumn 1990 issue of 2600 there is an article entitled, "Build a Telephone Induction Coil" by the 1000 Spiderwebs of Might in which this process is walked through. --The Philosopher
  12. This is indeed an excellent sociological treatise of much historical value. It is also available online at http://hacker.textfiles.com/papers/hackermeyer.txt . Many of the insights into H/P culture are still relevant to a degree, but the sections concerning software pirates are nearly completely outdated, I would presume.
  13. Alas, although it was once an excellent and predominant medium for online communication, especially prior to the proliferation of the World Wide Web, Usenet since the onset of Eternal September and particularly now in 2009 has been a wasteland filled with little but spam, spam, and more spam. I am also interested in the answer to this, as it would be excellent to communicate via any groups that remain active and spam-free. --The Philosopher
  14. Now that I have been extensively involved with the H/P subculture for a few years, during which I have observed the expression of opinions time and time again pertaining to a few extremely controversial topics that have essentially now become cliches, I believe the time appropriate to state my own opinions regarding several of them for the perusal of posterity. I have previously stated opinions regarding these time-honored controversies elsewhere-this thread exists thus as a central location of sorts into which I may consolidate my thoughts. I will likely check this topic from time to time and, admittedly, quickly scan it for well-formed and interesting responses in addition to those in agreement with me; the remainder I will promptly ignore. Agree or disagree with them as you will, but my opinions regarding the following subjects are quite developed and "thought-out", and as such I highly doubt that anyone will alter them-I must warn posters of the futility of attempting to do so. As usual, I (perhaps foolishly) request that readers will not allow their opinions of my opinions to affect their opinions of any of my technical work or "actual content". I will now proceed to discuss topics that have been over-discussed and will likely continue to be by those entering the subculture, to beat an incredibly stubborn horse that refuses to die. Hackers, the film: I will bluntly and directly state my general opinion as regards this: I am extremely fond of this film to the present day. Here is a bit of background and why: (is it possible that my writing style here has been influenced by extensive reading of Jason Scott's blog @ http://ascii.textfiles.com?) For those of you who are unaware or vaguely aware of this film, I will provide an extremely brief description of it and the controversy surrounding it. In 1995, to much fanfare and extremely mixed reviews, the film entitled Hackers was released (the one with Angelina Jolie, if that assists anyone in identifying it), created under the direction of Iain Softley, a director known for subculture films and who is quoted as saying, (Paraphrase) "I'm interested in subcultures...where they break through and become impossible for the mainstream to ignore." Few would argue that, in 1995, the hacker subculture had "broken through" and had become extremely well-known to the mainstream. As stated, reviews of this film range(d) from consideration of it as a masterpiece/cult classic to a horrible, unwatchable monstrosity. As with many cult films, Hackers failed to make a profit at the box office, and I will mainly address opinions of it with the H/P community. I will not provide a plot summary as such information is easily retrievable. A copy of the script can be retrieved here: http://www.angelfire.com/co/aplacetocrash/hackers.html Now for a bit of background regarding my personal history with the film. I initially viewed it sometime around 2004-it had been brought to my attention by my father, who is a sort of popular film buff and avid movie watcher, and who had viewed it years earlier in the mid-90s when it was released. Although already interested in the H/P subculture and "hacking" in general by this time, as ridiculous as this sounds now, I cannot say that I was not greatly inspired by the film. For a period of time quite a while later, I was nearly obsessed with it, viewing scenes from it regularly, reading the script, and listening constantly to the soundtrack as well as music "inspired by" the film. Although I haven't viewed it in a little while now, I still know much of the dialogue in my sleep and I am to this day capable of rapidly quoting with near-complete accuracy most of the lines. Although in retrospect my obsession with this movie was a bit silly, I am not ashamed of it as it is really an excellent film, for reasons that I will write momentarily. First, I will focus upon reasons as to why Hackers is in my estimation a well-made film and piece of literature, rather than reasons as to why it is a good hacker film, specifically. First, the subject matter was well-researched by the script writer and director. Even if you scorn the film for perceived absurdity in this realm, one cannot deny that at least an honest effort was made by the producers of this movie to understand the subculture that is its subject. The script writer was known to attend 2600 meetings in New York City (reportedly, Angelina Jolie was even taken to one on one occasion), and both Emmanuel Goldstein and Bill from RNOC (controversial figures in their own right, but known as ambassadors of the hacker culture, at least in Emmanuel's case) were hired as creative advisors/cultural consultants. Secondly, the subject matter is treated well from a purely cinematographic standpoint. The music is wholly appropriate to both the subject matter and the "edgy" feel that the film creates. The filming style, similarly, captures the scenes extremely well (is there really any other way in which to state this concept?) and eschews refreshingly the excessive, thick, cheesy computer-generated special effects seen in films such as Matrix Reloaded in favor of an anamorphic filming style that nonetheless creates enthralling eye-candy. The dialogue is, while slightly unrealistic and in some cases obviously scripted, strangely appropriate to the characters and well correlated with the message. Now, to finally address the reasons as to my fondness of Hackers specifically as a hacker culture and "cyberpunk-ish" film. I feel that, generally, Hackers captures the H/P subculture (especially as it existed in the 1990s) and the experience of being a teenage hacker/phreak (Without dating myself too specifically, I would know...) extremely well through assorted motifs in a fashion applicable across a wide window of time-in many instances, up to the present, which is why I consider the film a classic. A few examples? The diverse demographic of the hacker "scene" is portrayed most certainly-the group of hackers in the film is multiracial, multicultural, and includes characters from multiple income levels (Kate's mother is said to be quite wealthy, and the Phantom Phreak at one point in the film sports a "Two Tone" gold Rolex watch, while Joey and Lord Nikon reside in cramped, run-down apartments and the Cereal Killer's housing situation is ambiguous), different types of household situations, ages, and personalities, just as the actual hacker subculture does and did. This facet to me is extremely important in a film portraying actual hackers in the physical realm, as opposed to merely their actions online. We as a community, really however you happen to define the "hacker community" (or, dare I say, the term 'hacker', itself?), are simply not a group of "overweight technology lovers", as one friend of mine put it (we happen to disagree upon the film) or suburban, Cacausian males of a similar age and household income pounding away at keyboards day and night, and never really were. Phrack Prophiles terminate nearly without exception with the inquiry to the individual prophiled, "Do you consider the majority of hackers/phreaks to be nerds?" for a reason. The term "nerd" is extremely subjective in definition, I realize, but regardless, the answer is nearly always a negative one. The characters in the movie are seen as fringe, edgy sorts of individuals who are quite rebellious but not mindlessly, disobedient, often highly social, hedonistic, impulsive people who are intellectually gifted and creative regardless. This characterization of hackers certainly has its exceptions, I realize (in some ways I am one of them personally), but the fundamental concept of the hacker demographic, I think, however contrary to popular stereotypes regarding antisocial, isolated, myopically technologically dedicated hackers, is present and accurate. I speak from both personal experience and intensive study of hacker history when I state the accuracy of this persona and conversely the inaccuracy of the stereotypes in contrast to it. Each character represents/symbolizes an abstract level a different segment of the subculture. Dade Murphy/Crash Override is the seasoned, exceptionally skilled hacker whose ordeal is based very loosely upon that of Robert Tappan Morris, and who also represents somewhat the young, suburban element of the culture. Dade is skilled at social engineering, an often vital segment of systems hacking, as well as malware coding and many other things-Crash Override is the archetypal "elite" hacker, easily adaptable and skilled in the manipulation of both people and technology. Joey is the noob, the novice, the impressionable young upstart who is eager to learn and please. Cereal Killer embodies the sillier, tongue-in-cheek humor element of the culture, and is a sort of new-age techno-hippie (pardon my butchering of all of this terminology) although skilled himself. The list continues but I believe this point to have been sufficiently made. Furthermore, the film is chock full of allusions to hacker culture, general computing, and so forth. Examples include the "Gibson" supercomputer, the Hacker's Manifesto, The Plague's alias, "Mr. Babbage", etc. I would like to digress a moment to state an only slightly related opinion: those who scorn the Manifesto and its message, regardless of the many subtleties of the definition of the term, "hacker", are not hackers of any sort and will never be in my opinion, period. In this way I consider the Manifesto itself to be a significant segment of the definition of H/P culture. Undoubtedly I will be labeled as "old-school" by some and "new-school" by others for this view, but I digress even further. The message of the film is "spot on" regarding its portrayal of law enforcement and The Plague-Richard Gill is the very epitome of the ignorance, irrational hysteria, hostility, and incompetence that permeate(d) the general public's understanding of the computer underground phenomenon. The Plague as the ex-hacker turned corrupt security expert is an interesting concept rooted to some degree in reality as well-it prompts me to wonder whether a similar case of cat-and-mouse has transpired between hackers and a figure similar to The Plague to the degree portrayed in the film. In addition to relishing in all of these positive aspects of the movie, I find most negative criticism of Hackers to be ill-founded and emanating from a lack of understanding as to the nature and purpose of literature in general. Most such criticism is mainly based upon the technical inaccuracies, focusing upon such things as the eye-candy GUIs, the video tape robot battle, etc. Yes, of course, it goes without saying that the GUIs in the film are extremely unrealistic. They are symbolic, though, and not intended to reflect reality! The whole computer-as-a-city metaphor, seen in the beginning and as Joey traverses his way around the Gibson, is creative and amazingly portrayed if not original, and it reflects the incredible wondrous nature of technology. In the concluding scenes, similarly, packets of data are shown as literal small squares converging around a large rectangle that literally is labeled, "system command processor". What is wrong with these visualizations? They enable the viewer to feel the experience of using this technology while remaining entertaining. These metaphors and visualizations are used to explain and communicate the abstract subtleties of computer science and digital technology regardless. Furthermore, the interfaces are acknowledged as symbolic! In the credits, near the end of the credits, one will see a credit for the 'City of Light model', or some such thing. That's right, they acknowledge that it is a model. This is a film, people. It is not a documentary or supposed to exactly portray the reality of being a hacker. It is supposed to reflect the culture and the experience in a manner both accurate and entertaining, using the methods of LITERATURE to do so-that is, symbolism, hyperbole, etc. Exaggerated and obviously unrealistic scenes such as the tape battle have some basis in reality, and they are more significant for the cultural aspects than the technology involved. This is a general and irksome problem that I have observed in the H/P community, namely, an unawareness of culture, literature, metaphor, etc. Certainly, the H/P scene is based largely upon a mutual adoration of technology, but as I have stressed, it is a unique subculture with lore, values, philosophy, etc., and it is this subculture that the film attempts to portray and in my opinion portrays very well. Rather than contributing to the perpetuation of ignorance among the mainstream as to what we do and what we stand for as hackers, I believe that the film actually accomplishes just the opposite-all of the main hacker characters are portrayed favorably as innocent explorers who were the scapegoats of the media, law-enforcement, and true criminals such as The Plague...This, I feel, is accurate and positive, unless your definition of 'hacking' is fiddling around with some technology in a mainstream/mediocre manner, barring absolutely ANYTHING 'illegal'. (It would be correct to detect sarcasm and mild contempt in this sentence.) Such attitudes are another ball of wax entirely, and I will address them elsewhere. Windows and Microsoft: [To be continued]
  15. To summarize my response to your reply in a single word: absolutely. I absolutely and completely agree with every one of these views, Phail_Saph. I have compared hackers to Renaissance/Enlightenment thinkers on a number of occasions, I view Hackers as an encapsulation of the 'silver age' of hacking in this manner, and I am extremely fond of all of the works of William Gibson and cyberpunk literature/aesthetics in general. If you have read any of my other posts/articles/writings you are aware of my ability to write at a 'college level'. I do apologize for the excessively loose and colloquial language utilized in this and other writings, though. Just take solace in knowing that I am aware of the errors and awkward wording in some cases. I am in concurrence with your use of the film and discussion thereof as such a 'test'. Really, though, all that one's response to that film indicates is his/her level of understanding of literature, culture, metaphor, and symbolism, an understanding that I often find lacking in the H/P community, which is frankly riddled with people with an Asperger's syndrome-esque tendency to perceive only the literal and to be adverse to the subjective (no offense to those with AS). To appreciate Hackers, one must possess a sense of the greater context of H/P, not just as a pastime but as a true subculture, a unique one which, unlike many other subcultures, transcends the boundaries of geography. By the same token, though, one must be able to laugh at oneself and one's hacker culture to appreciate the film and its often tongue-in-cheek humor. Some hackers, who were offended by the film's portrayal, take themselves too seriously and approach the whole matter with too much gravity. In all fairness, though, such a film was released at a very volatile time. With that 'silver age' a whole new slew of busts and crackdowns, with a corresponding culture of scapegoatism was ushered in, and for some people I could imagine where the film would either 'hit a little too close to home' or portray hackers in such a fashion as could be misinterpreted by the viewing public, thereby further exacerbating their negative perceptions. I did not know you, but I am now quite glad that you added me as a 'friend' here... Edit: By the way, for those of you who know your hacker history, Eric Bloodaxe aka Chris Goggans has gone on record as being extremely negatively critical of the film. You know what is very interesting about that? He was a character in actuality very similar to the villain 'The Plague' himself-a former hacker who had accomplished everything that he could in the underground and gone 'legal', to grapple with and sic the authorities on a skilled group of teenage hackers from NYC, some of whom likely served as basis for certain characters in Hackers. Wow, now that I think about this, I am beginning to really see a parallel... Another edit: Also of note is the fact that, in reality, many of the technological feats that the characters perpetrated were/are not actually that implausible. As one anonymous friend and colleague of mine said, "The better of a hacker you become, the more you begin to realize that." I will not run down a list of every instance and explain its theoretical possibility here, but I will say that even some of the more seemingly impossible things were extremely possible in the early-to-mid-90s, and some are not impossible even to this day... --The Philosopher
  16. I thought to mention that a portion of the article is now available online @ http://artofhacking.com/iet/new/live/aoh_ifyoucnt.htm Unfortunately, it seems as if nearly over half of it was cut off/excluded. Hopefully, it will be up in its entirety soon. Also, the ASCII art is disfigured due to the page formatting; to see the ASCII diagrams as intended, copy all of the text and paste it into a text editor, such as Notepad with 'Word Wrap' on. Enjoy! --The Philosopher
  17. Oh, also, as many people often harbor more mild sorts of beliefs about parents, employers, governments, etc. being 'out to get' them, one action which can prevent them from blossoming into full-fledged, paralyzing paranoia is communicating with individuals with similar beliefs and recognizing that one's perceptions aren't necessarily so unusual. Realizing that one's beliefs and perceptions about the world, in general, are not necessarily 'strange' or so uncommon, can prevent a sense of detachment and isolation which so often leads to insecurity and mental illness, and may be a sort of 'therapy' in itself. Many people seem to believe fundamentally that their bosses/employers are 'out to get them', that government is oppressive, that trusted friends may harbor ulterior motives, and generally that systems in life are stacked against them-it isn't that unusual...recognizing that and coming to terms with the validity, actually, of one's perceptions, can in my opinion be a major step to superior mental health.
  18. I would like to temporarily break my self-imposed rule of not commenting on such non-technological or cultural matters here and address a few aspects of this post regarding paranoia. Yes, I entirely agree that extreme, specific paranoia is a serious mental illness, but I would differentiate 'paranoia' and the extreme type of behavior known as 'schizophrenia', entirely. Also, I must say that some (very sincere) paranoia is often in my opinion justified and subjectively defined. Many of us fail to realize the severity of mental illness; by the same token, however, most of us fail to realize the true, ugly nature of many institutions in the world (especially those that claim to exert some sort of authority over others), and the intentions of those who head them. Now, I do not mean to sound excessively 'paranoid' myself, here, (perhaps I am) but I would define paranoia slightly differently. I would contend that one must believe genuinely in the malicious intentions of those around him/her in order to be 'clinically' paranoid, or paranoid to the point of illness. IMHO, many if not most of the major institutions within this framework known as 'society' perpetuate acts and philosophies which I consider mildly misguided at best and truly demented at worst, and I find the patronization/domination of human beings under the guise of benevolence abhorrent, and yes, occasionally maliciously directed. Contemplation of all of this bothers me a great deal, seriously, and like many idealists and philosophers, I often lie awake nights concerned about it. Even so, I would consider myself moderately 'mentally healthy', and I would argue that the main factor differentiating myself from a mentally ill 'paranoid' is my recognition of the fact that the great majority of the people committing such acts of coercion and etc. are genuinely misguided and that they harbor good intentions. Again, I am youthful, a dedicated enthusiast of the 'cyber/postcyberpunk' literary movement/fiction, and a hardcore libertarian/anarcho-capitalist, so if any of this discredits me, ah well. It's simply that this is sort of a 'hot-button' issue with me as there have been cases of people like myself, societial observers/philosophers, and people with my political beliefs, being classified/diagnosed as 'mentally ill' or 'severely paranoid', simply for the purpose of silencing and/or discrediting them, quite unjustly. Heh, that last sentence even sounds excessively 'paranoid'... Anyway, with that said, another main factor differentiating the cautious and concerned from the mentally ill is the ability to enjoy one's life and the state of one's existence in the face of the realization that malicious intent isn't necessarily specifically directed or extant. Even for all of my quasi-cyberpunk libertarian ravings about the evils of coercion, as manifested in government, education, and so forth, I am able to relax and enjoy my life, existing even within these contexts/frameworks.
  19. Why thank you, Stankdawg. Do note that the first segment of it (part one) was published in the Summer 2009 issue. There is a special shout-out to Binrev and the DDP at the conclusion. Perhaps it will be possible to improve the general quality of 2600, one content-rich article at a time. --The Philosopher
  20. Naturally, I encourage everyone to read my article, "If You Can't Stand the Heat, Hack the Computers! Understanding OAS Heat Computers", the second part to which was published in the Autumn 2009 issue, and to leave feedback either here or through another mentioned venue. What are your opinions of it? I would also like to mention that 2600 published a slightly older version due to a rather late acceptance for inclusion, one that also lacks the ASCII diagrams that I carefully crafted of two types of steam boilers. I have submitted this complete, current version, ASCII diagrams and all, to http://www.artofhacking.com and http://www.textfiles.com/uploads, so it should be up at those locations fairly soon depending upon the speed of the admins of both sites. --The Philosopher
  21. Some time ago lowtec operated a small, quality hacker 'zine, DIG, and the corresponding website at http://www.digzine.com/. For various reasons the magazine seemingly died and the above website, when navigated to, simply returned a "webpage not found" error. Now, when one navigates to this website, a terrifying message is to be found! Does anyone happen to know what is occuring with this? lowtec, have you had any difficulty with the DHS lately? --The Philosopher
  22. A true "hacker" in the technological tinkering/hobbyist sense. Do you recall me from Defcon 16?

  23. I here pose a question, the likes of which may (hopefully) invoke a myriad of responses: Which *NIX clone and/or distribution of a *NIX clone is most similar in commands, features, interface, etc., to UNIX System V and why? Note: I am referring to "modern" *NIX clones and similar OSes (Linux, *BSD, etc. are a few examples) that may be run without difficulty or "kludging" on current hardware. Also and more importantly, does anyone know of any emulators upon which System V may be run/emulated? If so, which OSes may it/they be run on? Beyond these queries, this may serve as the "definitive System V thread" concerning anything and everything related to it specifically. --The Philosopher
  24. Would this be another account of Substance of 9x?

  25. As usual, it seems that ThoughtPhreaker beat me to it. I also recall excitedly contemplating the possibilities of that number when I discovered it in The Clone's hand scan of that INWATS prefix a few years (or was it a year and a half?) ago (other, more immediately enticing projects, however, prompted me to delay my experimentation with it). ThoughtPhreaker is correct, also as usual. These numbers are indeed used for remote access to transmitter equipment. The "voice" of the WOPR was far more high-pitched, but I digress. It is unfortunate indeed that you were unable to follow your original intent for exploration; I suspect we would have all benefited greatly from the outcome. Fortunately, though, although I never directly experimented with it, I did happen to come across some slightly "juicier" (i.e., more interesting) information regarding the uses of such numbers as the above posted, that you might find extremely intriguing: Although this may seem obvious once stated, such numbers to "automated transmitter systems" are/were used, as I understand, to facilitate the expedient transmission of EAS (Emergency Alert System) broadcasts/alerts. This little-known fact came to my attention slightly less than a year ago at Defcon 16, at which I attended the excellent talk (really one of the best at the conference, in my opinion) of DCFlux regarding the EAS and its predecessors, entitled "Flux on: EAS". It can be found here: http://yoire.com/downloads/Defcon2008/....con-16-flux.pdf and here: https://miroguide.com/feeds/9522?page=7 , in PDF and video respectively. I would highly recommend that you read/view it, especially in light of your interest in the aforementioned numbers. Although he never directly stated that these systems are used for EAS broadcasts, he did happen to mention in passing the role of remote access to transmitter equipment in emergencies. Intrigued, and impressed greatly with the talk in general, I spoke with him later in the conference, mentioning the number that I had discovered, and he said that, indeed, EAS broadcasts were/are a use of these systems and corresponding numbers, and he suggested furthermore that it may be possible, if one replicated the protocol/format of EAS broadcasts (fully outlined in the talk) and transmitted it through one, to send an alert. It seems surprisingly plausible, since the protocol is rigidly defined and all elements of it are replictable. In fact, an interesting, cryptic sentence is scribbled in my notes from the talk preceded by a rather conspicuous asterisk under the heading "Modulation Standards", derived from something that Flux must have mentioned during it: "Strange tones and baud rates seemingly offer the only forms of security to prevent people from sending tones." Hastily transcribed it is, to be certain, but it piqued my curiosity enough for me to inquire after Flux on the matter. Following the conference, I briefly entertained lofty notions (purely theoretical/conceptual, of course-a thought experiment) of "spoofing" an EAS broadcast, as it were, through access to such an "automated/remote transmitter system", with that particular number in mind... Now, insofar as future access to such systems, I would ordinarily advise you to scan for more numbers to them, but since they seem to be quite rare (especially INWATS numbers), I would hardly bother. You may be able to attain them through social engineering, though. ThoughtPhreaker is correct in his statements regarding another unfortunate detail-the CNAM data for toll-free numbers is simply "TOLL FREE". However, all hope may not be lost. The toll-free number to this system may be down, but the ordinary number to which it routes may not be. The error message suggests, not being a "DISCO/NIS" message with the three ubiquitous S.I.Ts, that this 800 number may simply no longer route to the actual number of the system. (I am here assuming your awareness of the fact that all INWATS numbers (not "actual" INWATS, but toll-free 8XX numbers) route to an ordinary telephone number with an actual NPA. The routing is naturally far more complex than this woefully brief overview would imply, but the relevance of this to this particular topic is insufficient to justify the use of additional space to expound upon it-articles/material exists in abundance on the subject.) If you could somehow discover to which number this once routed, you may just find it to still be active-a remote possibility, but a possibility nonetheless. Well, yes, I have experienced that feeling, in a more general context, and in a very few instances specific ones. Upon initially discovering the phreaking "scene" and all of the wonders therein throughout the years, I believed that I had discovered several "lost gem twenty years old or more" in the form of several phreaking textfiles, most related to varieties of color boxing. Just as I had begun to read of the miracle that was redboxing, ACTS use (and payphones, for that matter) began to quickly diminish into oblivion, lost to the ages. I "lost" one (and nearly two) perfectly good years that I could have spent furthering my "H/P education" due to the tremendous despair that I felt upon realizing that little to none of the phreaking material I had acquired during this early and formative period was valid any longer. I vehemently advise you not to make the same mistake. You would be absolutely amazed, astounded at the amount of such gems in existence, lurking in the more obscure corners of the PSTN, the Internet, and every other network, just waiting to be discovered. If it is presently possible and practical, wardial/scan an entire prefix (local or 8XX, preferably the latter) and you will begin to understand this. Scan old x.25 networks with the same fervor. There is an entire underbelly of the world's communications/technological infrastructure, a seamy side in which many such things of interest are easily accessible, still, and the realization of its existence and exploration of it is the chief step, in my view, to graduating from an "outside-in" dabbler to a serious hacker/phreak. Again, there are a great many true gems, some years and more rarely decades old, for you to stumble upon. Not to gloat or fill anyone's imagination with false fancies, but yes, I speak from a great, great deal of experience. In the words of ls-la in the article, "Phreaking Your Local EWSD", "...that's all I have to say about that." /me nudges everyone on my Binrev friends list, especially radio_phreak I wish you the very best of fortune in all of your future H/P technological exploration/exploitation endeavors, and as usual, feel completely free and encouraged to PM, email, or otherwise contact me with any inquiries that you may harbor regarding specific technologies, general observations, or if you simply wish to discuss a bit of any of the above in more detail.