Definition of phreaking in English:



North American
  • [mass noun] The action of hacking into telecommunications systems, especially to obtain free calls.

    • ‘My first encounter with what I would eventually learn to call social engineering came about during my high school years, when I met another student who was caught up in a hobby called phone phreaking.’
    • ‘The process - known as phone phreaking - involves electronic manipulating phone systems, normally by sending additional control codes down phone lines.’
    • ‘This was the era of phone phreaking: black boxes, blue boxes, Captain Crunch whistles.’
    • ‘This capability, known in the civil community as hacking, phreaking, and other terms for arcane computer skills, also poses cultural problems for the US military.’
    • ‘Alternatively phreaking may be used to obtain free net access in European countries.’
    • ‘If you think phone phreaking was bad, just wait until anyone can do it.’
    • ‘It's great to finally hear someone talk about phone phreaking and other attempts to subvert American Idol voting.’
    • ‘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 authorities followed leads which directed them to investigate a Spanish hacking and phone phreaking gang named ‘AKELARRE’.’
    • ‘Hands-free phones, phreaking - hacking into phone systems for free calls - and fuzzy logic are all new inclusions.’
    • ‘Okay, so the US government does have me down as the author of a hacking/phreaking journal.’
    • ‘It was some kind of combination of instant messaging, phone phreaking, and Wi-Fi with a distinctly modern flavor to it.’
    • ‘Authors Peter Warren and Michael Streeter use the 260 page book to put different aspects of cyber crime - ranging from the genesis of offences such as phone phreaking to the rise of botnets - under the microscope.’
    • ‘This article about three blind brothers in Israel who are crazy good at computers and phone phreaking (like hacking, but with phones) is totally and utterly amazing.’


1970s: alteration of freaking (see freak). The change from f- to ph- was due to association with phone.