Computer Forensics - Phone Stalking
The word Phreaking is an amalgamation of the two words "phone" and "freak". This word is used to describe both a group of people who like to experiment with telecommunications technology, and the malicious act of Phreaking which is abusing and gaining access to telecommunication equipment and systems with malicious intent. Phreaking is also sometimes used in association with computer hacking and within the associated culture.
In the early days Phreaking mostly consisted of using recorded or synthesised tones to gain access to telecommunication systems, either to make free telephone calls, or to carry out malicious activities upon the telecoms network. This was mostly facilitated due to the fact that telephone networks at the time worked in an analogue fashion, and accepted certain tones on certain frequencies as a kind of password security code. Toll fraud was often the intended crime, allowing the person undertaking the Phreaking attack to make free or vastly reduced cost calls.
In modern times the word Phreaking is used to describe any form of unauthorised or malicious use of telecommunications equipment, including digital switchboards and corporate telephone systems. Phreaking technology now mainly consists of hacker style software applications which have been specifically designed to gain access too and manipulate digital telephone networks.
If the target of a Phreaking attack is a corporation or business that relies upon the telephone system as the backbone for communication with both their employees and their customers, then the effects of the attack can have far reaching repercussions. Almost every modern digital switchboard or exchange is run on some form of computer hardware and associated software; this means that it is open to attack by anybody who is able to gain direct access to the telecoms network. Although there are obviously security measures in place to ensure that this security risk is minimised, like any form of computer equipment there can be security holes.